Clan softball split Sunday doubleheader

The fifth inning was the Clan's downfall.
SFU were able to muster eight runs in game one, but only two in the second game. Image courtesy of SFU Athletics
SFU were able to muster eight runs in game one, but only two in the second game. Image courtesy of SFU Athletics

Looking to bounce back from two losses to division rivals Central Washington the day before, the Clan entered the doubleheader on Sunday, March 8 against Concordia University with a .500 record of 8–8. With a focus on getting the bats going early, the Clan were unable to match Concordia’s firepower with a consistent offence.

The first game of the doubleheader started with a bang, as right-fielder Rachel Proctor smacked a grand slam in the first inning to centre field for her first home-run of the season, giving SFU an early 5–1 lead. However, things got tight when the Clan’s shaky pitching, along with a cold offence, allowed Concordia to get back into the game.

With momentum swinging in Concordia’s direction, head coach Mike Renney found a way to turn things around by inserting pitcher Kelsie Hawkins in the fourth inning. Hawkins quickly settled in — she retired the first three batters she faced in the inning and did not allow a run the rest of the game, earning SFU the first win of the doubleheader 8–4.

It was a different story in the second game. SFU’s lone home run came from designated hitter Kaitlyn Cameron, who rang off a two-run shot in the second inning to keep the game close at 3–2.

The third inning marked an offensive outburst by Concordia. The team scored five runs off the bat, putting the game out of reach for the Clan. SFU’s offence was only able to muster a total of three hits, and the Clan’s streakiness at the plate was its eventual downfall, leading to the 9–2 loss.

When asked about the team’s inconsistency after the game, Renney commented, “It is more mental than physical, and often in both softball and baseball, the term ‘hitting is contagious’ is used.”

The team’s relative inexperience may have contributed to their struggles at the plate, but the need for a response in the stress of competition is evident.

“We need to be more battle-tested to the point that we become more comfortable being uncomfortable,” Renney said.

There were some positive takeaways from the split games on Sunday. Arguably the brightest moments for the team came on the defensive side in the first game, which featured solid play by shortstop Danielle Raison, dominant pitching by Hawkins, and an all-world diving catch at first base by Alex Baylak.

Despite their loss in the second game, the Clan showed resiliency throughout the doubleheader that allowed them to hold their own against Concordia’s team. As coach Renney put it, “like a strong branch we bent some but did not break, which is a character trait that we can build on.”