by Alexis Barton
After starting their season with a perfect 8-0 record, the Roanoke softball team took their talents on the road during spring break. The Maroons saw six non-conferences matchups over the course of the week, allowing them to test their skills against challenging opponents while taking a break from classes. The team returned home with a 12-2 record following four sound victories and two hard-fought losses on the road.
The team started off their trip with three consecutive wins against Marian, Marietta, and Mount Union. The Maroons combined for a total of seventeen runs over the course of those three victories, and held their opponents to a mere seven runs. Despite their close loss to Swarthmore, the team began to find their rhythm as they headed into the second half of the trip. In their fifth game, the Maroons took on another nationally-ranked team, the Muskingum Fighting Muskies. The Maroons came out strong in the second inning with runs from Kate Houle and Makayla Austin. Muskingum responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the second, but the Maroons came back once again with their talented offense. The third inning brought three additional runs for the Maroons, led by Kate Houle’s home run and subsequent runs from Rachel Sirbaugh and Shannah Hester. The Muskies attempted a comeback once again, but it was no match for the Maroons. Roanoke grabbed their fourth and final win of the trip with a score of 6-2.
Despite the Florida heat and fast pace, the Maroons returned victorious and re-energized for the second half of their season. Senior outfielder Riley Croghan noted that the team’s strong start helped prepare them not only for a challenging set of away games over the break, but helped them set their minds on success later in the season. “Starting off the season 8-0, I think, really has set the stage for the rest of the season. Obviously, the ODAC is a challenging conference, but each and every one of the players on the team has shown that we can all compete with anyone in the conference, no matter who is in and what the situation is.”
With just over a month left in their season, the Maroons now shift their focus to upcoming conference play. Croghan shared, “Looking ahead I believe Virginia Wesleyan and Randolph-Macon will pose the biggest challenges for our team during conference play. I have full confidence that we can beat these teams, but they are definitely the toughest teams in the ODAC.” The combination of the Maroons’ skill and passion for the game have elevated them to national rankings, where they currently sit at #13 in Division III. Now, they will have to hone their skills, “be disciplined at bat, and play a clean defense”, says Croghan. Her and her teammates are confident in their abilities, and she says, “these focal points can easily be accomplished with the skill we have on our team”.
As she embarks on the rest of her final season, Riley shared that the reality of her final season “hasn’t really kicked in yet”, but she is cherishing the time she has left with her teammates nevertheless. Be sure to come see Riley and her teammates in their remaining home games at the Moyer Complex this season. Go Maroons!
Va Wes on Sunday (3/20) @ 12pm and 2pm
Averett on Wednesday (3/23) @ 3pm and 5pm
Randolph-Macon on Saturday (3/26) @ 1pm and 3pm
Ferrum on Tuesday (4/5) @ 5pm and 7pm
Guilford on Saturday (4/16) @ 1pm and 3pm (*senior day)