Softball head coach Paige Smith did not see her team’s opening tournament at the Hampton Inn Campbell Stampede Tournament as an early sign of adversity or as a rough start. Instead, she’s staying positive.
“I look at it as an opportunity,” Smith said. “Some of them seize the moment, and some of them are going to have to work harder.”
The team lost three of its first four games to open the season this past weekend.
Pitching was an obvious struggle for the Pirates. In Friday’s 11-5 loss to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, the Pirates gave up a combined 12 hits.
Junior Danielle DeStaso solo homered in the top of the second to give the Hall a 1-0 lead on Friday, part of a strong day offensively for her. She collected two runs, two hits and an RBI in three at bats.
“Danielle DeStaso is the most even-keeled athlete I’ve ever worked with,” Smith said. “She’s the one telling everyone to stay calm and stay the course.”
On the mound, DeStaso had a rough afternoon, giving up seven runs in the third and picking up the loss.
Offensively, senior third baseman and Big East Player of the week Meredith Henze had a strong offensive output, collecting an RBI as part of her two-hit, one-run afternoon. Despite the losses, Smith praised Henze for having a “monster of a weekend.”
“She’s hungry,” Smith said. “She wants to leave a legacy on this program.”
Henze and DeStaso helped the Hall storm back in the fourth, making it an 8-5 game.
But struggles on the mound continued as they gave up three runs and five hits in the sixth. Junior Casey Moses finished the game, relieving Fischer, who gave up four runs and seven hits in her first appearance on the mound.
The team’s second game on Friday, an evening match versus UMass Lowell, was a chilling 38 degrees at the first pitch. But it did not stop the offense from having a strong showing in a 13-1 victory.
Henze continued her strong offensive play Friday evening, collecting two runs, a hit and three RBIs. Right fielder Colltey Sheldon added three hits and two runs in four at-bats for The Hall. First baseman Whitney Jones had two RBIs in the winning effort.
On the mound, Jen Metzger had a strong game, giving up just two hits and a run while earning her first win of the season.
The struggles on the mound returned on Saturday as Seton Hall struggled to fend off the Valparaiso bats, giving up 20 hits and 24 runs in a 24-1 loss.
The Hall closed out the weekend’s tournament Sunday losing 11-2 to host-team Campbell.
Trailing 2-0 off a homerun by Henze, Campbell answered with two runs in the bottom of the second, and a home run from Jones in the third tied the game.
Campbell continued to respond, taking a 3-2 lead into the fourth.
Pitching struggles were once again evident in Sunday’s meeting at Campbell. Fischer gave up eight runs and six hits.
The Pirates will be at Charlotte Friday for a 4 p.m. meeting, and again Saturday for a 2 p.m. game. The Hall will face Drexel on Saturday at 4 p.m., and Cleveland State Sunday at 10 a.m.
Neal can be reached at email@example.com.