UMass softball sweeps doubleheader against Yale
For the first time this season, the Massachusetts softball team played at home, and it proved to be a successful return for the Minutewomen.
UMass swept Yale in a doubleheader 6-1 and 3-1 in their return to Sortino Field on Wednesday.
Pitcher Tara Klee led the Minutewomen (5-14) to the 6-1 victory in the second game with a strong five-inning outing, allowing only one run on four hits. UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni said that she was waiting for this kind of performance from Klee.
“This was the Tara that we’ve been waiting to show up,” she said. “This is what we usually see in her workouts, and we told her that it’s gonna take a couple of games for her to gain some confidence. Her changeup was on today, and when her changeup is on, there’s no stopping her.”
The offensive trio of Quianna Diaz-Patterson, Taylor Carbone and Lindsey Webster gave the offense a well-needed spark, registering a combined nine hits in 11 at-bats, including four doubles and a run-batted-in.
After having their past four games canceled, Stefanoni believes these two wins will provide momentum for her team as they continue conference play.
“We’ve been sitting on our rears not being able to play, so this is a great momentum and confidence builder for us,” Stefanoni said. “For us to have 13 hits in this game and 10 hits in the first one and totally surpass what we’ve done in the past offensively is great.”
It was a day where emotions were running high for UMass as this was the first home opener in 34 years without Elaine Sortino in the dugout, Diaz-Patterson said it really sunk in right before the game started.
`“I know when we did the moment of silence it hit me and some of the other players,” she said. “We’re playing for Coach and although she’s not physically here, I can hear her in heaven and she’s very happy about these two wins.”
Before the game, Stefanoni told her team that this was for their former leader and knows that everything her team does is for Sortino.
“On top of the jitters that come with the home opener when everyone is trying to show what they can do, these players want to do well for Elaine and honor her in the best way possible,” she said. “Emotions were high, especially for me and (former player and current assistant coach) Danielle (Henderson).”
Minutewomen top Yale in game one
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Minutewomen came out victorious over the Bulldogs 3-1 behind a complete game from pitcher Caroline Raymond.
After allowing a first inning solo home run to Yale (3-19) shortstop Brittany Labbadia, Raymond (3-7) settled in and was dominant on the hill, surrendering only one run on four hits while recording five strikeouts.
Despite trailing 1-0, UMass tied it up in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI triple by Webster. She later added the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning when she knocked in Cote Clark on a single.
The Minutewomen scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Clark singled in Mikayla Panko to give her team the 3-1 lead. Eight of the nine starters registered a hit, with Clark and Webster getting two hits apiece.
Jason Kates can be reached at email@example.com.