It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
After a rousing comeback to win the first game, 8-4, Penn softball dropped the second game of its doubleheader by a score of 13-0 to Army on Friday night at Penn Park.
The Quakers (8-6) got off to a great start early thanks to the continued hot streak of junior outfielder Leah Allen. Her RBI double in the first broke open the scoring and gave Penn a 1-0 lead early in game one.
“I didn’t hit well in Florida so it’s nice to come in here and do well again,” Allen said. “I just hope it carries over for the next few weeks.”
After the Quakers saw their lead balloon to 2-0 in the next inning, the Black Knights (12-11) started to creep back into the picture. Thanks to a few well-placed throwing and fielding errors by the Red and Blue along with a string of hits from the Knights, the 2-0 score line was flipped on its head and became a 4-2 deficit by the middle of the 6th inning.
Just when things started to look out of hand, Penn coach Leslie King’s squad dug deep to find their will to win. After loading the bases with zero outs in the bottom of the 6th, sophomore Katie Petroski stepped to the plate with zero collegiate home runs to her name.
She couldn’t have picked a better time to join the club, knocking a ball over the centerfield fence of Penn Park and putting the Quakers back in the lead by the score of 6-4.
“I think [Petroski’s grand slam] shifted the momentum to our side,” Allen said. “Then just keeping that going was really nice.”
The momentum continued as Allen smashed another ball over the right field fence four batters later to make the score 8-4 after six.
“It was nice to see the team answer immediately,” King said. “That’s a good sign when you answer back when the other team scores to get ahead of you.”
With the chance to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat, junior pitcher Alexis Sargent came back out for the seventh and finished the complete game to give Penn their fifth win in a row.
Allen’s recent hot streak has been a major key to the Quakers’ recent success, after a six-RBI day against Lafayette on Wednesday, her three RBI in the first game brought her total for the week to nine.
“She’s been locked in this whole week,” King said. “She’s an RBI machine when she’s locked in and tough to get out.”
The second game of the doubleheader wasn’t as kind to the Red and Blue. Army designated hitter Emily Gray opened the scoring first with a quick two run homer early in the game.
Junior pitcher Courtney Cuzick wasn’t able to get a reprieve from the offensive onslaught of the Knights, as they added one more run in the third.
Staring down a 3-0 deficit in the fourth inning, the Quakers tried to find some way to get their team back in the game, but their troubles were just getting started. With two outs in the top of the fourth, Army put the game out of reach by plating ten runs before Penn could get off the field.
With the home team’s offense unable to muster a sufficient response, the game was ended after five innings with the score standing at 13-0. The rare shutout was only the second of the season for the Quakers, and came on the heels of nine straight games with a run.
Just three opponents standing between the Red and Blue and the onset of Ivy play; they will have to quickly move on from this defeat if they want to defend their Ivy League South Division title.
“We didn’t pitch well, we didn’t hit well, and we didn’t field well,” King added. “We’re gonna forget about it. I’m not concerned about it at all.”
With La Salle waiting on Wednesday, the Quakers will have to have a very short memory.
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