Softball seniors end regular home season on high note
Published: Monday, May 7, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Senior day for the DePaul softball team is special for a number of reasons. Perhaps one of the newest reasons the game is memorable is it never goes to a complete seven innings.
The 2010 senior day ended with snow taking out the last game and in 2011 USF walked out and forfeited . On Sunday afternoon, the Blue Demons (34-19, 14-8 Big East) were able to get in the minimum five innings needed for a complete game with Providence (17-36, 7-14 Big East) and defeated the Friars 5-1 at Cacciatore Stadium. DePaul also split their first two games on Saturday with Providence, falling 3-2 and winning 2-0.
Centerfielder Samantha Dodd broke out of her 0-for-7 performance on Saturday by hitting 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Her run-scoring double was part of a three-run fifth inning that broke the game open and eventually turned out to be the final inning.
"Just going up there, doing what I can, trying to be aggressive and get something started," Dodd said when asked about her solid performance on Sunday. "Once one person gets a hit, and another, it accumulates. So for me to be a catalyst today and help the team in any way is a great job. I'm proud of the hitting."
Kirsten Verdun, the sensational sophomore pitcher for the Blue Demons, capped off what is certain to be an all-conference season with her 25th win, giving up five hits, striking out four, walking no one and only giving up one run.
Providence jumped out to an early lead when Friars leadoff hitter Michelle Huber tripled to lead off the game and scored on a squeeze play. After the first inning, Providence could not find much to hit off of Verdun.
"Give credit to them for executing that [first] inning," head coach Eugene Lenti said. "But then [Verdun] settled down the rest of the game."
After the game was finally called due to the rain, thunder and lightning that wouldn't let up, the team honored the three seniors who played their last game at Cacciatore Stadium.
Marla Matthews, Katelyn Braget, and Lynsey Ciezki went 154-65 as a senior class, including three NCAA tournament appearances, four if they qualify this season.
"This senior class over the four years have had a lot of great moments," Lenti said. "The thing I'll remember most about this senior class is the effort they put forth and what great kids they were. Great, great students, great leaders, always willing to go the extra mile."
Matthews was limited all season due to a serious back injury, but was able to make a few plate appearances as the designated player. Braget, according to Lenti during the honoring of the senior class, was the only player who was in the same position (right field) from the start of the fall until the end of the season.
Ciezki was one of the defensive stalwarts for the Blue Demons despite playing out of position at second base.
"The senior class is very special to me, I've been with them the longest," Dodd said. "They're great ladies who lead by example a lot of the time. I appreciate the time I've had with them."
Dodd also said that there was no option to win on Sunday, they had to do it for the seniors.
But now that they did get the victory, it is time to set their sights to the Big East Tournament, starting on Thursday at Notre Dame. DePaul will play USF, and the two teams haven't played each other since the Bulls walked out of Cacciatore Stadium under protest on the 2011 senior day.
"Doesn't matter to us who we play," Bruno said. "It's all about what we're capable of doing. Can we string hits together and score runs. Can Verdun do her job and keep runners off base. The tournament is going to come down to who's hot at that time."
And Lenti believes his team is hitting their stride at just the right time.