The Heidelberg University softball team began the 2013 season on Saturday, March 9, dropping their first two contests, but rallied to pick up a pair of wins the following day.
It’s become somewhat of a tradition for the Heidelberg softball team to begin their season in Clermont, Florida, at the National Training Center. This season, fifth year head coach Betsy Hada knew the Florida trip would be a true test for her ladies considering that 13 freshmen would receive their first taste of collegiate competition in Clermont.
On the first day of competition, the Berg showed their inexperience, dropping their two contests to Renssaeler Polytechnic (N.Y.) and Coe (IA.) College, 7-2 and 7-2 respectively.
However, the young team led by their lone senior, left-hander Ali Sayre (Sylvania/Northview), rallied in their next two contests to pull back to .500. On Sunday, the Student Princes shutout the Highlanders of MacMurray (IL.) College, 8-0 and downed the Lions of Finlandia (MI.) University, 3-1.
In the season opener, Sayre threw a complete game, striking out two but surrendering seven earned runs. Freshman catcher Mikaela Mitsch (McHenry, IL./McHenry) scored the Berg’s only two runs, in a two for three outing at the plate.
Freshman Lisa Simmons (Westerville/Westerville North) and junior Jami Wagner (Alvada/New Riegel) played well in their first outing, hitting two of four in the loss.
Against Coe, the Student Princes jumped out to a one run lead in the first inning. Coe would tie the game in the second but the Berg regained the lead in the top of the third. It was four runs from the Kohawks in the bottom of the third that put the game out of reach for the Berg.
Again it was Mitsch giving the Berg their two runs. Mikaela went two for two at the plate against Coe.
Freshman righty Carly Pickard (Johnstown/Johnstown-Monroe) received her first career start for the Berg against Coe, throwing two and two-thirds innings until freshman righty Nicola Gabriele (Boardman) entered the game in relief.
Pickard faced 19 batters, striking out one and surrendering five earned runs.
The second day of competition proved to be more beneficial for the young group of ladies as freshman righty Paige Atterholt (DeGraff/Riverside) took the mound for the first time in the tri-color. Atterholt threw a two hit shut out against MacMurray, striking out eight.
Offensively, the Student Princes were led by freshman Kayla Zachrich (Defiance/Ayersville) and Andi Lowe (Westerville/Westerville Central).
Zachrich drove in two runs for the Berg while having a two for three outing at the plate. Lowe also batted in two runs finishing the day one for three at the plate.
The Berg’s second victory of the 2013 season came as the result of a three run fourth inning against Finlandia. The game was scoreless up to that point, but an RBI from Zachrich, Lowe and junior transfer Lydia Stover (Norris City, IL./Olney Central College) gave the Berg the upperhand heading into the later innings of the game.
Gabrielle received the start for the Student Princes and allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings of work against the Lions. The lone Finlandia run came in the top of the seventh inning.
After four games, the Berg is led offensively by Mikaela Mitsch and fellow freshman Bri Sinden (New Philadelphia) who both own a .545 batting average.
On the mound, Gabriele and Atterholt lead the Heidelberg rotation. Atterholt holds a 0.00 ERA and eight strikeouts, Gabrielle owns a 2.25 ERA through nine and one-third innings of work.
Following their back-to-back double headers, the Heidelberg ladies will take Monday off to rest and prepare for their upcoming contests.
The 2-2 Heidelberg softball team will look to advance above .500 when they battle Suffolk University on Tuesday, March 12. Their game against Suffolk will be the first half of a double header, which concludes with the Berg battling Farmingdale State College.
Both games will be played under the lights with the first pitch between the Rams of Suffolk and the Student Princes scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Action between Farmingdale and the Berg is slated for 7:00 p.m. later that evening.