Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
NAPLES, Fla. – The Elms College softball squad suffered a pair of defeats in their Opening Day action for the 2017 season at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The Blazers fell to Clark, 3-0, in the opener, and then fell short in a comeback, 3-2, against Eastern Nazarene.
Game 1: Clark 3, Elms 0 (7 Innings)
The Cougars wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as senior Lauren Mackey (Dublin, N.H.) and sophomore Taylor Erickson (Natick, Mass.) knocked back-to-back singles, and then freshman Kaitlyn DeBois (Turner, Maine) launched a three-run home run in her first collegiate at-bat to lift Clark to a 3-0 lead.
Clark junior Sami West (1-0; Gonic, N.H.) held the Blazers off the scoreboard by delivering a no-hit performance while raking up 15 strikeouts from the pitching circle. Elms senior Tessa Cote (0-1; Granby, Mass.) was solid in her season debut, allowing three runs, all unearned, with seven strikeouts.
Game 2: Eastern Nazarene 3, Elms 2 (7 Innings)
After five scoreless innings of play, the Lions cracked the scoreboard in the fifth inning as freshman Kayleen Garrick (Sparks, Nev.) crossed home on an RBI single from sophomore Viviana Coix (Warrenville, Ill.). After stealing second base, Coix scored on an RBI single from sophomore Lauren Clements (Garrison, Texas), and then freshman Ellisa McCarthy (Quincy, Mass.) raced home on an errant throw on a steal attempt to stake Eastern Nazarene to a 3-0 lead.
The Blazers mounted a comeback attempt in the bottom of the seventh with Cote and sophomore Kayla Doherty (Plaistow, N.H.) delivered singles from the dish to put runners in scoring position. Cote came around to score as senior Kacey Gifford (Suffield, Mass.) ripped an RBI single down the left field line, and then Doherty touched home on an RBI single by sophomore Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) to close the Lions advantage to 3-2. Eastern Nazarene freshman Elisabeth Schaffer (Benton, Pa.) forced a groundout to secure the victory for the Lions.
Elms sophomore Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) took a no-decision in her first start of the season, scattering two hits in five scoreless innings of work, while sophomore Jeszy McGuire (0-1; Brimfield, Mass.) took the loss in relief. Schaffer (1-0) allowed two runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts from the pitching circle.
The Blazers will look to move into the win column with another twinbill Sunday morning in Fort Myers. Elms will face Dominican (Ill.) at 9:00 a.m., followed by a game against Kenyon at 11:00 a.m.