NEWTON, Mass. – Five important members of the Mount Ida College softball program played their final home games on Saturday afternoon as the Mustangs were swept in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader by Simmons College on Senior Day.
Pitcher Nicole Handzel (Palmer, Mass.), second baseman Lucianna Medici (Riverside, R.I.), pitcher/utility player Kaitlyn Muhlenforth (Bohemia, N.Y.), catcher Emma Morton (Winchester, Mass.) and center fielder Michele MacDonald (N. Dighton, Mass.) were all recognized with gifts from their teammates and speeches from Head Coach Katie Zuman.
"This year's group of seniors is special in so many ways. First, this is the first time in program history to have five seniors play all four years while balancing their rigorous academic careers, three of which are in the toughest majors to be an athlete because of the lab demands, Vet Tech, Dental Hygiene and Interior Architecture and Design," said Zuman.
"This year's senior class is also special in that they all exuberate what it means to be a Mount Ida softball player. They are hardworking, disciplined, fun, and have the passion that has been needed to help create traditions that will continue to help build a strong softball program here and will continue to bring more dedicated and committed student-athletes to Mount Ida in the future. They have all grown in to tremendous young women and I truly have grown to love each of them and can't wait to watch them to continue to grow and become outstanding adults in their fields. I wish them the best of luck and nothing but success in their lives upon graduation."
Game 1: Simmons 2, Mount Ida 1 (8 innings)
The pitchers from each team dueled through seven scoreless innings, sending the game to extras with no runs on the board.
Handzel allowed just two hits and neither of them were in the top of the eighth, but that didn't stop Simmons from putting two runs on the board. Thanks to a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error, placed runner Alex Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) and Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine), who reached on a fielder's choice, both crossed the plate.
Mount Ida got a run back quickly in their extra inning. Medici was placed on second base and she stole third for her team-leading 29th base and came home on a throwing error by the catcher on the same play.
The Mustangs couldn't push the winning run across, however, with a two-out single by Muhlenforth unable to spark a rally.
Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) earned the win, improving to 3-5 on the year after allowing just one unearned run with five strikeouts and just one walk.
Both of Handzel's runs were unearned as well, and she lowered her earned run average to 2.70 while striking out four batters.
MacDonald had two hits in the game for the Mustangs, who managed seven hits as a team against Soqui.
Game 2: Simmons 5, Mount Ida 2
The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Hayley Microulis (Pawtucket, R.I.) scored on a passed ball and the Muhlenforth corssed the plate on a single to right field by Morton.
Muhlenforth was 2-3 in the game, but the Mustangs could only scratch out five hits against Tori Gomes (Taunton, Mass.), who struck out six batters while improving to 4-11 on the year.
Simmons took the lead for good with three runs in the third inning and then added single insurance tallies in the fifth and sixth.
Ashley Lynch (Shrewsbury, Mass.) started things off with an RBI single, before Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) added an RBI sacrifice fly, one of two runs batted in on the day.
Soqui knocked home Lynch with a single to left field.
Hennessey brought Gauvin in on a single to center in the fifth and Sam Curran ( Concord, N.H.) singled to score Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) in the sixth inning.
Mount Ida ends their regular season with a 13-22 record (7-15 GNAC), while Simmons improves to 13-22 (8-12 GNAC) and will play a makeup game at Rivier tomorrow.