Going up against Monmouth on Wednesday, the Penn softball team’s focus seemed to be everywhere but the diamond.
After narrowly losing to the Hawks in the first game of a doubleheader, 2-1, the Quakers imploded in the second contest of the day, falling 17-2.
Penn (13-13) deviated from its plan to use the matchup with Monmouth (17-10) to gain momentum for its upcoming Ivy road trip to Yale and Brown.
In the first game of the twin bill, Sydney Turchin scored on a base hit to give the Red and Blue a quick 1-0 lead.
With a lead in hand, Quakers ace Alexis Borden performed admirably, striking out four Hawks, bringing her record career strikeout total to 288.
After keeping Monmouth off the scoreboard for four innings though, Penn’s defense faltered, surrendering a run on an error by junior third baseman Kayla Dahlerbruch.
Freshman pitcher Amanda Gisonni relieved Borden and promptly surrendered a pair of hits that gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead that they would not surrender.
Facing a late deficit, the Quakers couldn’t turn on their bats in time and wound up suffering a bitter defeat.
The conclusion of that game revealed that something wasn’t quite right with the Red and Blue.
“We weren’t mentally, physically into it, collectively as a team,” coach Leslie King said.
This sentiment was definitely true in the bitterly cold second game, which was a far more one-sided affair.
Freshman pitcher Lauren Li took the mound hoping to lead her team to a victory. But from the outset, it seemed the Quakers were not prepared for the birds of prey from New Jersey.
After surrendering three runs in the first inning and another four in the second frame, Penn found itself facing an almost insurmountable deficit early on.
The early hole proved fatal for Penn, as Monmouth boasted an 11-1 record when leading games after the third inning heading into the afternoon.
Senior Lindsay Mann replaced Li in the third inning but couldn’t stop the bleeding, yielding another run.
The Quakers got one back in the home half of the third, when catcher Elysse Gorney knocked in Bridget Ellsworth on a putout.
But the Hawks quickly quashed the Quakers’ comeback attempt, as junior first baseman Katie Schumacher smacked a home run to center.
The blast only plunged the Red and Blue deeper into despair. After Mann surrendered another run, sophomore pitcher Jen Retzer entered the contest.
Retzer struggled, surrendering five runs, including a grand slam to Schumacher.
With the Quakers facing a 17-2 deficit, the game was called due to the mercy rule after five innings.
The Red and Blue would like nothing more than to put the ugly blowout behind them as just ‘one of those days.’
“Our first step is forgetting about today,” King said. “Hopefully this was a gut check for everyone.”
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