Having won 13 of its last 14 games, the Bowdoin softball team (18-6, 2-1 NESCAC) heads to NESCAC rival Colby (7-12, 0-3 NESCAC) this weekend for a three-game series. The Polar Bears’ recent run of success has been fueled by the team’s offense—the team has scored at least seven runs in seven of its last 12 wins.
“Our bats have been unbelievable this season,” captain Emily Griffin ’17 said. “I think a comment that is frequently made after our wins is that we score a lot of runs because people produce all up and down the lineup. Everyone comes up big in the clutch all the time. Also, our baserunners have been very aggressive, which has helped us score more.”
Indeed, eight of the 14 players who have hit for the Polar Bears this year have at least 19 hits. Six players are hitting above .300 and six players have at least 13 RBIs. The team is currently second in the NESCAC in runs scored with 153, just behind Amherst with 163.
The team’s pitching and defense has been solid as well. Bowdoin boasts a NESCAC-best 2.22 ERA this season along with 138 strikeouts, which is second in the conference to Amherst.
“We have a four-pitcher staff which has been great,” Griffin said. “We have two first years who have come in and have really been helpful for the team.”
A large part of the team’s success has been due to its chemistry as well. Its roster is small, only 14 players, but the close-knit group has been consistent in all facets of the game up to this point.
“This is probably the most cohesive Bowdoin softball team since I’ve been here,” Griffin said. “I think it’s because we developed such a good support system. In the fall after training we would go on ‘dates’ with each other where we just spent time and really developed one-on-one relationships. As a result we’re able to hold each other accountable while knowing that isn’t coming from a bad place.”
One of the big hurdles the team has faced so far has been injuries. The team lost outfielder Emma Stevens ’18 early in the year and is now down to three outfielders, two of whom are also pitchers.
“With the size of our roster everyone is essential,” Griffin said. “So trying to fill that gap when one of us is pitching is always tough, but luckily people have been able to fill in roles and come through when we need them to, which has been amazing. I think part of it is that we’re able to get it done because we know that we have to.”
Still, the team has been able to overcome injuries so far and has maintained a high level of consistency. The team’s chemistry has also helped contribute to its resilience.
“One of our greatest strengths is our ability to come back from games that we’re losing,” Griffin said. “There were some games in Florida where we were behind and then we would score a bunch of runs in one inning and take the lead.”
Just last night, the team was losing to the University of Southern Maine 3-1 in the sixth inning before rattling off five runs in the last two innings en route to a 6-4 victory. The Polar Bears believe they have a shot at the NESCAC title if they continue to play at this level and look forward to returning to conference play this weekend.
The team will face Colby in the first game of their series today at 4 p.m.