The Bowdoin softball team has started off the spring strong, boasting an 11-5 record returning from its trip to Florida last week. The team had outscored its opponents 45 to 12 over its last six games, all victories for the Polar Bears.
“Overall the team did amazingly well,” said captain Emily Griffin ’17. “Even the first couple games where we had a few losses there was only ever one inning that hurt us. Everyone was just playing together, our defense was playing the best I have ever seen it and we were just getting clutch hit after clutch hit. It was amazing to see.”
Due to its dominant play over the course of the tour, the team swept NESCAC honors this week as Griffin and Allison Rutz ’20 were named Pitcher of the Week and Player of the Week, respectively. Griffin had three wins in the circle last week, allowing just one earned run in 14 innings pitched and Rutz batted .500 with 14 hits and 10 RBI over eight games.
One of the most impressive victories of the trip was the team’s win over St. Catherine, where the Polar Bears scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth and held on to win 4-2.
“They have a really good pitcher and we were able to knock her out of the game early with some solid at-bats, where we worked the pitch count a bit. That was really great,” said Head Coach Ryan Sullivan.
The team won many close games, including beating Fontbonne 8-4 in an extra-innings thriller. Overall, the trip helped the team identify and solidify its strengths on and off the field.
“We have strong pitchers and on offense we have a bunch of consistent hitters who will single you to death,” said Sullivan. “We also have the mental toughness and grit to get through some adverse moments. Those are things that will win you games. If you pitch well you will be in games and if you have strength mentally you will be able to get through some of the tough ones.”
While the team had a lot of success over break, it had to overcome adversity before the players even reached Florida. The team was supposed to depart on Tuesday, March 14, but winter storm Stella caused its flight to be cancelled. Instead, the team had to take a 36-hour bus ride from campus to Florida. Despite the obvious discomfort of such a long ride, Sullivan thought it was a good experience.
“In a lot of ways it was such a positive experience because it really kind of galvanized us for the trip,” said Sullivan. “It gave us something to rally around. I have to give a lot of credit to the players. They really didn’t use it as an excuse at all—instead they used it as a motivating tool.”
This weekend the Polar Bears travel to Hartford to play a three-game series against Trinity (8-5) with the first match on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the double-header starting on Sunday at 11 a.m. Griffin is very confident in the team going into the weekend.
“If we played the way we did the end of the trip then I expect us to sweep,” said Griffin. “That is a pretty bold statement, I know, but I truly believe in this team. When we are on and when we are playing together, there is no one who can beat us.”