The St. Catharine Patriots (18-20, 8-12) came into the unusual four game series with the University of the Cumberland’s (10-26, 4-18) riding two impressive wins over the Union College Bulldogs. The Patriots had snapped a 10 game losing streak that lasted two weeks, and felt that they had once again found their offense.
In the opening game of the series at the University of the Cumberlands, pitching was the story, for both Patriot clubs totaled for three runs on nine hits. Unfortunately for St. Catharine, Jessica Speake (6-12), of the Cumberlands, got the best of the Patriot hitters. After giving up a run in the top of the seventh Speake was able to hold St. Catharine hitters at bay, allowing the Cumberland’s Patriots to score in the bottom of the eighth to take the 2-1 win. St. Catharine’s Ashley Hardin (9-6) threw a gem through six innings of work, allowing one earned run on four hits, while only walking one. “Ashley really pitched her tail off today. She has been getting better and better, and has really become an anchor for our staff,” says St. Catharine coach Holly Smith.
In the second game things looked dismal for the St. Catharine Patriots for four innings. Trailing eleven to one, Coach Holly Smith decided it was time to light a fire under her team. “I just got into them; I let them know that we were dead and needed find some life.” Apparently the actions of Holly Smith worked; the Patriots rallied for 12 runs in the fifth inning and were able to hold the Cumberland’s sluggers to zero runs and hits to complete the 14 to 11 victory. “Our offense finally did what it was capable of. This team has to stop relying on the long ball, and begin hitting in [scoring] situations,” says Smith.
Coming back home the St. Catharine Patriots hoped to recapture the offense that propelled them to victory in game two, and things looked promising until, with the score three to two in favor of UC, the Cumberland’s hitters scored three runs in the top of the seventh to win 6-2. “Krystal [Cammuse] pitched extremely well, especially since she is still getting comfortable on the mound,” says Smith. With the loss the Patriots fell behind one to two in the series and would look to rebound in game four.
Game four proved to be another offensive onslaught for the St. Catharine hitters. The purple Patriots scored seven runs on twelve hits and were able to come away with a 7-3 victory to even the series. In traditional Patriot fashion, the St. Catharine offense jumped in front two to zero in the first inning and never looked back. “We did better at situational hitting, but still need improvement in that area,” says Smith. Ashley Hardin pitched a dandy, while only surrendering three runs, two earned, on seven hits. “If we keep teams in the ballpark and limit mistakes, we can be competitive,” says Smith.
The St. Catharine Patriots will take the field again Wednesday at 2 PM against rival Georgetown College (24-10, 13-7). When asked about Georgetown, Smith simply replied, “We are fighting for position and every game counts. We can’t let anyone have an advantage on us. This team must find a will to fight in order to make the [conference] tournament.”