Softball closes season with doubleheaders

The Rensselaer women’s softball team closed out its regular season in May with three doubleheaders against Utica College, Union College, and Skidmore College. Although the Red Hawks dropped the two against Utica, the ladies managed to split the other two doubleheaders, rounding out their overall record on regular season play to 23-12. Following the end of its regular season, the team finished out the year by participating in the ECAC Tournament, where they it took away three wins and two losses to finish out the season 26-14.

RPI fell to the Utica Pioneers in two close games, 7-6 and 5-4. Although the Red Hawks were up 3-0 in the top of the sixth of game one, the Pioneers quickly answered with two runs. The Pioneers tied the game up at 3-3 on an RBI single from senior Abby Drew after a scoreless inning from Rensselaer, keeping the game alive into the eighth inning. Although RPI managed to rack up three more runs off a walk and an RBI each from freshman Sara Heller and senior captain Julianne Bass, Utica tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the inning to take the game, with the game-winning triple from sophomore Kim Martin who brought in three of her teammates on the hit.

In game two, the Red Hawks again put up a strong fight, with a homer from sophomore Jen Bach and an RBI single by freshman Samantha Paulding. However, the Pioneers edged the women out in the seventh off an RPI single from senior Andrea Curley.

RPI split their doubleheader the following day at Union College, taking the first game 7-4 but dropping the second in a crushing 9-0 loss ended after six innings. In the first game, Bach knocked in a run to start off a game, but was answered by the Dutchwomen with one run in each the second and third inning. The women garnered another four runs in the fourth and, despite earning another two runs, Union was unable to make up the deficit. The Red Hawks took the game after an additional two runs in the sixth and a scoreless bottom of the inning from Union. The second game, however, took a different turn. Senior Megan Kaknis was on a role for Union, racking up two homers and five RBIs on the game. The Dutchwomen started out the game strong with three runs in the bottom of the first and added another two in the second. Rensselaer only managed three hits during the game, but was unable to score on any of them. Union continued its strong batting throughout the six-inning game, finally garnering a score of 9-0 over the Red Hawks.

After a couple days of rest, the women were on the road again for a doubleheader at Skidmore. The first game remained scoreless until the sixth inning when Thoroughbred sophomore Caitlin Ketcham hit a two-run homer, batting in the only runs that would be scored in the game. Skidmore freshman Sam Crose picked up her eighth shutout of the season with five strikeouts, while Bach shouldered the loss for the Red Hawks, striking out seven in the six-inning game. Despite the 2-0 loss, Rensselaer came back in the second game to overtake the Thoroughbreds 4-1. Junior Becky Bailey scored in the first inning after an error from Skidmore. Although Skidmore tied it up in the bottom half, Heller was driven home by an RPI single from Paulding in the sixth and the Red Hawks knocked in two additional runs in the seventh. Senior Sara Finkbeiner threw seven complete innings with two strikeouts in the win.

Following the regular season, the women took on Elmira College in a home game during the ECAC Tournament, which the Red Hawks won in a shutout 3-0. RPI was on the road for the rest of the tournament games. Though the team fell to Union 4-0, it won the following two games against SUNY Brockport and Alfred University 3-1 and 5-2, respectively. Unfortunately, Rensselaer again fell to Union in its final game, losing 9-4.

Several of the Red Hawks received honors at the end of the season as well. Bailey was named to the 2009 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America College Division Softball Second Team. It was the first Academic All-America honor for Bailey, who is a two-time Academic All-District selection. The ECAC also recognized Bach and Finkbeiner, selecting them to the Division III Upstate All-Stars at the utility and outfield positions, respectively.