Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass softball lose both games on senior day to George Washington

Four Minutewomen were honored before Saturday’s doubleheader
Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts softball team honored its four seniors on Saturday before it opened its final regular season series against George Washington. The four Minutewomen (19-29, 12-11 Atlantic 10) who were honored were Kendra Allen, Amy Smith, Kristina Day and Kali Puppolo. The Colonials (32-13, 20-3 A-10) spoiled the festivities though, as they swept the doubleheader.

Each one of the seniors has become a major contributor to the Minutewomen squad this year and in years past. Leadership is a trait that each one of them have developed and maintained during their tenure at UMass.

“I’m glad that I got to know [all the seniors] and coach them” UMass coach Danielle Henderson said. “They’re really a special group, and they’re all great leaders. I wish I got to coach them for more than one year.”

Smith, a graduate student and catcher, has been the Minutewomen’s defensive anchor since she took on the starting role in the shortened 2020 season. With a fielding percentage of .992, she commands an infield that has drastically improved over the course of the regular season. To Smith, however, the biggest factor in Saturday’s games was emotion.

“A lot of us were getting a little sentimental, [Friday] may have been the last time we ever practice on our home field,” Smith said. “But [coach Henderson] said instead of thinking about it in a sad way, it’s more of a celebration, and all of us came in today really excited, because three of us worked incredibly hard in our four to five years here, and [Puppolo] in her one year here.”

As mentioned by Smith, Puppolo only spent one year as a pitcher for the Minutewomen. A native of Adams, MA, she spent two years at community college before moving to Division II softball to play for the Manhattan College Jaspers for her junior and senior year. She made her way back home to UMass as a graduate student.

As a member of the pitching staff, Puppolo has worked in a relief role and she’s averaged about one inning and a third per appearance. Of the 22 runs she’s allowed this season, only 14 have been earned. In those appearances she’s had eight strikeouts in 9.2 innings of work.

Day, the second baseman for the Minutewomen, has provided small ball tactics over the years. Along with Allen, she makes up a right side of the infield that’s been solid for the past few years. A career .241 hitter, Day had made the most of her opportunities on the base paths. She’s scored 17 runs in 45 games this season along with 15 walks

Allen has been the offensive key to the Minutewomen’s lineup during her tenure. She has driven in 31 runs this season, which leads the team. In her career at UMass, Allen is a .251 hitter along with 10 home runs. Like Day, Allen is another who walks frequently, walking 32 this year.

Allen also made a smooth transition to first base after her freshman year, and didn’t make an error this season. In Saturday’s second game, she was responsible for 11 of the 21 outs that UMass recorded.

“During the game, I think we [might have] been a little bit anxious,” Allen said. “I mean, I’ve been waiting for this day my whole career. I think it’s special just to celebrate all the work we’ve put in for all of our years here. We made it through and it’s not easy, and the fact that we’re here today says a lot.”

Despite the bravado of senior day, Henderson had one message: today is just another game.

“Senior day is just a way for us to celebrate [the seniors], and so I said don’t make it bigger than it is,” Henderson said. “They’re the ones who put in all the time and effort these years, and so I told them to just think of it that way.”

Despite two losses today, UMass can still clinch a spot in the A-10 tournament, which would be its appearance since 2019. The Minutewomen can achieve this with either a win against George Washington on Sunday or a George Mason loss. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. at Sortino field.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jdepin101.

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