McDaniel’s mission to play in this year’s Centennial Conference softball tournament is still in sight, but the Green Terror likely have some work to do over the next 10 days to get there.
The home team suffered a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Gettysburg on Tuesday afternoon, a pair of setbacks that left the Terror in fourth place in the conference standings — the top four teams qualify for the postseason tourney.
The Bullets, who came into Tuesday’s twinbill in last place, vaulted into a tie for sixth thanks to their 5-3 and 10-1 victories. But the Centennial isn’t that top-heavy, boasting six teams within only a few games of each other as the regular season winds down.
“We’re learning from this,” said McDaniel junior Megan Coyle. “It just means that we’ve got to take two every time we get a chance.”
McDaniel (19-12, 6-6 Centennial) had won six of its last seven games prior to Tuesday’s doubleheader, only to fall behind early in each contest against Gettysburg. The Bullets (14-16, 4-6) led 4-0 after three innings in Game 1, then scored an insurance run in the sixth after the Green Terror cut the deficit to 4-3. In Game 2, Gettysburg scored four runs in the first inning and tacked on six in the fifth.
Gettysburg’s Emily Colline belted a three-run homer in the opening frame of Game 2, and Meredith Taylor added a two-run double in the sixth. She finished with three RBIs for the Bullets in the second game after swatting a two-run homer in Game 1 and tallying three RBIs in that one too.
McDaniel stayed close in Game 1, but left 10 runners on base and came up short in a few clutch situations. The Terror failed to score in the sixth despite having the bases loaded with one out.
Coyle had a two-run double and two hits in the first game for the Terror, and Megan Horsey had two hits and an RBI of her own in that contest. Horsey is one of nine freshmen on McDaniel’s roster, and many of them saw action Tuesday. She leads the Green Terror regulars in batting average (.391) and hits (36), while fellow freshman Madison Froemel (.357, 22 RBIs) is the reigning Centennial Conference Player of the Week.
Throw in sophomore outfielder Michaela Persinger, one of the team’s offensive leaders, and it’s safe to say McDaniel’s success this season has hinged on its young group coming together.
“The older girls are helping, and the freshmen are kind of buying into the program,” Coyle said. “It has been fun. It’s kind of a quirky group, but we come in and play and do our job.”
Krista Waller, one of those freshmen, pitched nine innings over the two games Tuesday. She came into the day leading the team in wins (seven), and has been rotating in the circle with junior Cassie Rickrode.
Fiona Johnson, one of McDaniel’s four seniors and its veteran pitcher, has been out since late March with an injury. Johnson and Coyle are two of the Green Terror’s four captains, with Rickrode and senior Alicia Wagner being the others.
Coyle said the rookies have meshed well with the rest of the team this spring, and it’s a big reason McDaniel is in position to advance to the playoffs.
Dickinson is the top seed right now at 9-3, with Haverford (6-2-1), Swarthmore (5-3), and McDaniel in the other three spots. The Terror visit Swarthmore on Saturday in another big doubleheader, and host Ursinus on April 27 for two in their regular-season finale (they play at Messiah on April 24 for a non-conference two-game set).