April 19, 2013 by John Capone
It was another dismal week for the Drexel softball team, whose only win came April 16 against La Salle University. Overall, the Dragons went 1-5 this week, which included a sweep by Towson University. Drexel is now 12-29 on the season and has a tough matchup April 20 against Georgia State University.
The Dragons played a doubleheader April 13 and were shut out in both games against Towson. Tara Konopka pitched the first game and gave four strong innings before allowing a run in the fifth inning and another three in the sixth. Drexel’s offense didn’t give much support to Konopka, only registering four hits, and the Dragons fell to the Tigers by a score of 4-0.
The following game did not yield much more luck to the Dragons. Shelby Taylor started for Drexel and was roughed up in the first inning, giving up four runs. The bleeding then continued, as Towson scored another run in the second and three more in the third. Once again, the Dragons offense failed to score a run, and they lost the game 8-0.
The series ended in excitement April 14 when Drexel and Towson went 12 innings in a great pitching performance by Tara Konopka and the Dragons’ bullpen. The relievers gave up one run in 9 2-3 innings of work, with Konopka pitching 7 2-3 of those innings in relief. Konopka gave up four hits and struck out eight on the day.
Towson took an early lead with a two-run single in the third by Delanie Dunham. The Dragons answered in the third inning with a trio of doubles by Jenn Reading, Comfort Ahonkhai and Jill Popek. Unfortunately, the Dragons only managed one more hit the rest of the game.
The game looked to be over in the 10th inning when Towson’s Maureen Hepner led off with a triple, but Konopka was able to work out of it by popping up the next batter and striking out the following two. However, in the 12th inning after a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt, Towson was able to score the game-winning run with two singles.
Drexel’s offense came up big against La Salle. Reading went 3 for 3 and finished the game a triple shy of the cycle. Taylor put in an impressive performance on the mound, giving up only two runs and striking out a season-high nine batters.
The Dragons took the lead in the third inning when Reading led off with a double. Then Hanna Parrish singled up the middle to score Reading and the first run of the game. The Explorers tied it up in the sixth after a one-out walk issued by Taylor came around the bases on a two-out double by Casey Lester.
The Dragons offense heated up in the seventh. Eight batters came to the plate, and all eight batters reached base to score six runs. Reading smashed a two-run home run to the opposite field. With the bases loaded a few batters later, Maggy Fermo and Taylor hit back-to-back ground balls that scored two runs. The Explorers’ new pitcher, Mary Cate Scott, threw a wild pitch that scored an additional two runs, icing the game for the Dragons.
Head coach Miranda Ervin commented that the game was a “great win” and that it was “awesome to see us put some runs on the board,” which is what the Dragons had been lacking the last couple games.
But Drexel’s offense did not continue its hot streak April 17 against the University of Pennsylvania. The game was hard fought and came down to a throw to home plate for the final out of the game.
Tara Konopka started the game and did not give up an earned run, as all three of Penn’s runs came on errors in the first two innings. Ellen Scott drove in both of Drexel’s runs with a double in the second that brought home Maddison Timoteo and Reading. Neither team would score for the rest of the game, though Drexel came close twice in the fifth and seventh innings.
Ervin spoke of the missed opportunities after the game.
“At any point we had the chance to take the lead,” Ervin said. “It is something to build on going into this weekend.”
The Dragons have a very difficult matchup coming up. Drexel will play two games against Georgia State (27-16) this weekend and a game against Delaware State University (25-18-1) April 23.
The Dragons cannot give up unearned runs if they expect to beat these teams. In addition to their great pitching in these last couple of games, they must step up the offense as they did against La Salle if they want to overcome the Panthers and Hornets.
With only eight games left in the season, the Dragons can really prove something by defeating these tough teams. On Sunday, the seniors will be honored before the game for Senior Day ceremonies, and the team will look to play well for its graduating teammates.