KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Holy Cross softball team fought hard on Monday afternoon in two games at the Rebel Spring Games in Florida but were unable to record its first victory of the season. Despite trailing early against both South Dakota and Indiana State, the Crusaders rallied back to tie both games. They were never able to take the lead, however, and lost the first game to South Dakota by a score of 7-5 and the second to Indiana State 9-7
In game one, the Coyotes took the lead in its first at-bat of the game when Lindsey Boyd led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Crusader pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) after a lengthy ten-pitch at-bat. After a single to center field, South Dakota was able to bring in one more run before Barrett was able to get out of a bases loaded jam retiring the next three batters in a row.
The Crusaders got on the board in the top of the top of the fifth when sophomore Sarah Free (Claremont, Calif.) and senior Camille Trainor (Worcester, Mass.) led off with back-to-back singles. After senior Gwen Reimer (Pottsville, Pa.) walked and junior Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) fouled out, senior Nicole Ortiz (Whittier, Calif.) ripped a single to left field to score two runs. Later in the inning, freshman Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) singled to record her first RBI of her career and tie the score, 3-3. The Coyotes responded in the bottom half of the inning to post four runs and knock Barrett from the game. Junior Jenna Legros (Sandy Hook, Conn.) came in to record the final out of the inning but the Crusaders trailed 7-3.
After a scoreless sixth the Crusaders added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning off an RBI single by sophomore Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) and RBI double by Vargas but it was not enough as Holy Cross fell to 0-3 on the young season. Ortiz went 4-4 with two RBI to lead the Crusaders offensively but Barrett fell to 0-2 to start the year, allowing 10 hits and seven runs (three earned) in four and two-thirds innings. South Dakota moves to 2-13.
In the second game, Indiana State scored one run in the first, four in the second and two in the third to take a commanding 7-0 lead early. Freshman Tori Cheske (Thomaston, Conn.) entered the game in relief of Trainor in the circle, who started the game. The Crusader bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth as they batted around and scored seven runs to tie the game. Junior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.) led off the inning with her second hit in as many tries this season and broke up another no-hit attempt. After Gustafson singled and Vargas walked, sophomore Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) grounded to the shortstop who fired an erratic throw home allowing Rosenthal and Gustafson to score. Legros grounded out to second and Cheske to shortstop, each recording an RBI in the process to make the score 7-4. Following a single by Trainor and catcher interference that allowed Reimer to reach, Fregenti drilled a towering home run over the left-center field fence to tie the game 7-7.
Once again, the Crusaders struggled to build on the offensive momentum as the Sycamores responded with two runs in the top half of the sixth as Barrett entered the game in relief of Cheske. Holy Cross was able to get two runners on in the bottom of the seventh inning with nobody out but Indiana State pitcher Lindsey Beisser came in and shut the door on the Crusaders, recording two straight strike outs to end the game. Cheske ended up with the loss after walking the eventual go ahead run before being pulled, but tallied two no-hit innings in relief to help Holy Cross mount a comeback. Indiana State moves to 4-4 on the year while the Crusaders start out 0-4.
The Crusaders will begin day three of Rebel Spring Games action tomorrow, March 6, at 11:00 a.m. when it takes St. Francis (Pa.). Holy Cross will then face Yale at 1:00 p.m.