The idea was to go south for the opening tournament of the season to take advantage of the warmer weather. That didn’t go exactly as planned for the St. Catharine College softball team that played at Reinhardt University in Georgia.
With five games scheduled over two days, Holly Smith’s Patriots were only able to play four of those as freezing temperatures and wind chills in the teens forced the cancellation of the final game. But when they could play, the Patriots were able to get the new season off to a good start with three wins.
On Friday the Patriots opened the 2012 campaign with an 8-0 win over Point University (Ga.) as Ashley Cardenas and Ashley Hardin combined to pitch the five inning shutout. Hagan Goldey had two hits and two runs batted in. Kasie Prather, Carrie Wilkerson and Taylor Eastridge also had two hits apiece.
Cardenas allowed two hits in four innings of work and Hardin gave up one hit in the inning she pitched.
In Friday’s second game the Patriots again went only five innings due to the run rule in a 9-1 win over Montreat College (N.C.). Wilkerson had three hits including a walk-off grand slam and Taylor Steff and Chelcie Rein had two each. Krystal Cammuse, a freshman, earned her first college victory as she allowed one run on five hits while striking out nine in going all five innings.
The third game on Friday resulted in an 8-3 loss to host and 19th ranked, Reinhardt. Cardenas took the loss as she allowed six runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. Hardin gave up two runs on six hits in the final 3 1/3 innings. Steff had two of the Patriots’ five hits.
With the winds howling on Saturday, St. Catharine outlasted Point University 8-5. Senior Amber Matteoli, pitching in her first game since 2010 due to an arm injury, picked up the win.
“That was absolutely the coldest game I have ever been involved in,” said St. Catharine assistant coach Felicia Smith. “And I played in Michigan where we had some really cold weather at the beginning of the season.”
Smith added, “But we got off to a good start. We really hit the ball well and that is encouraging.”
The Patriots are idle until February 24th when they play at Mid-Continent University. The first home games are February 25th when Indiana Wesleyan visits Salt River Electric Field for a doubleheader.