Softball loses in overtime, Lehigh takes weekend series

Softball+fell+in+a+double+header+to+Lehigh+on+Saturday+and+loses+Sunday+in+heartbreaker.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+GoLeopards.com%29

Softball fell in a double header to Lehigh on Saturday and loses Sunday in heartbreaker. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards.com)

Nick Alexander, Contributing Writer

The softball team (5-23 overall, 0-6 Patriot League) dropped both games in a doubleheader last Saturday at rival Lehigh. The Leopards could only muster four runs as they lost game one 8-2 and game two 7-2. On Sunday, Lehigh was victorious once again and secured the series sweep, winning 7-6 in extra innings of game three. 

The Leopards fell behind early in game one on Saturday, with Lehigh taking a 7-1 lead in the fourth inning on a grand slam. Lafayette chipped away at the lead in the sixth inning, thanks to a lead-off single by catcher and third baseman freshman Kaya Ciccone-Cozart, who later scored on a fielder’s choice by freshmen infielder Harlie Bickett. 

“We put more effort into this week since we were playing our rival,” Ciccone-Cozart said. “We wanted to come in strong, and even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, we all felt like we had a great weekend.”

In game two, Lafayette scored all of its runs in the third inning. Lehigh took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third and added two more in the fourth and two in the sixth to secure the sweep of the doubleheader with a 7-2 win.

“We just needed to work on staying together and having more energy, and just honing in on the end goal,” Ciccone-Cozart said regarding the game two loss. “When we’re down in the game we have to put pressure on our opponent no matter who it is.” 

The Leopards struck first in game three, scoring three runs at the top of the second inning, thanks to a solo home run by senior pitcher Kinzi Van Wyk and an RBI (runs batted in) single by junior outfielder Jasmine Nguyen. The Leopards added their third on a throwing error. The lead was short-lived, as Lehigh answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the second.

Lehigh held a 6-3 lead by the top of the seventh inning, looking to close out the series then and there. The Leopards had two runners on in the top of the seventh and were down to their final out when Ciccone-Cozart stepped into the batter’s box. 

“I just went up there and I realized what I needed to do and I came out on top,” Ciccone-Cozart said.

Ciccone-Cozart took a 1-0 pitch and shot it over the left-field wall for a game-tying 3-run home run. 

“Unfortunately we didn’t win, but I still feel like that was a great opportunity for me to show what I can do,” Ciccone-Cozart said.

The Leopards retired the bottom of Lehigh’s order in their half of the seventh to send the game to extra innings. The Leopards sent their seventh, eighth and ninth hitters to the plate in the eighth inning but were retired in order.

In the bottom of the eighth, Lehigh had runners on first and second when a bunt was laid down that allowed the runner from second. Lafayette took the smart play and got the runner out at first, but the Leopards were not quick enough on the exchange. The throw to the plate was not in time, and Lehigh secured the 7-6 win. 

“On Sunday, we focused on being loud and annoying and didn’t worry about what Lehigh was going to do because we had already played them twice over the weekend,” Ciccone-Cozart said. “We came out and stuck together because we had learned from the past and didn’t reflect on it, and I feel like that really helped us a lot in the end.” 

The Leopards, while disappointed in the series loss, used this weekend to improve upon their game going forward through the rest of the season.  

“We’ve been learning from the mistakes that we made from this past weekend and focusing on what we have to do in key situations,” Ciccone-Cozart said. 

The Leopards will take on Colgate at home in a doubleheader tomorrow with the first pitch of game one at noon.