Spring, Softball

BC Splits Doubleheader With Yellow Jackets, Holds on for Series Win

Six errors, 202 pitches, and one snagged liner in shallow left field. Those are the stats that mattered during Saturday’s doubleheader between Boston College softball and Georgia Tech.

Six errors. Game One was a 6-0 triumph for the Yellow Jackets (28-25, 13-10 Atlantic Coast) in BC’s (30-22, 13-11) annual Back the Blue Game—when the Eagles honor the men and women of the police forces that protect not only members of the BC community, but the men and women who put their lives on the line for citizens across the United States. How did GT do it? By taking advantage of three Eagle errors—including two by senior captain Chloe Sharabba.

Game Two—prefaced by senior day festivities to honor the four players graduating—was a much different story.

The first inning massed without much incident, but BC got the bats going in the second. Emme Martinez started the inning with a single to left center, followed by a Carly Severini walk and a sacrifice bunt from Cami Sellers to move the runners into scoring position. That brought Allyson Moore to the plate, who knocked a ball just over Yellow Jacket center fielder Draven Sonnon to bring home Martinez, but Sellers was gunned down by the cutoff throw at the plate with time to spare.

The Eagles were just getting started, though. After Jessica Dreswick gave up the first GT hit of the game, the errors began to cost Georgia Tech. Lexi DiEmmanuele led off the bottom of the frame, reaching first on an error by Yellow Jacket second baseman Lilly Hooper. Sharabba came up next, eager to make up for her struggles in Game One, and came through with a single to right. A wild pitch from GT starter Emily Anderson moved both runners into scoring position, and, one batter later, Martinez ripped a single to right field to score DiEmmanuele. Severini grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Sharabba, bringing Sellers back to the plate.

The freshman first baseman promptly hit a single to right field, but advanced to second while Yellow Jacket right fielder Breanna Roper bobbled the ball, and advanced to third when Roper’s throw to home plate was off the mark. That was it for Anderson: She went two and two-thirds before exiting, surrendering four runs—just one earned—five hits, and two walks with only one strikeout on 56 pitches. Game One starter Brooke Barfield then entered and quickly got Moore to fly out to center to end the inning, but the damage was done—BC led 4-0.

Meanwhile, Dreswick was setting them up and putting them down until the sixth inning. She conceded just three hits in her final home game of her collegiate career. The only weak spot in her performance came when GT tagged her for three unearned runs in the penultimate frame: Roper began the half-inning with a walk—one of six Dreswick surrendered—Saige Pye pinch hit and knocked a grounder toward Olivia Markopoulos. The second baseman couldn’t quite handle the bouncing ball, attempting to roll it to Sharabba parked on second base for the force out but failing to get the ball to the senior in time.

Malea Bell then flew out to right field, advancing Roper to third base, but in a way, her sacrifice was all for naught—Kelsey Chisholm went yard, scoring Roper and Pye, cutting the Yellow Jacket deficit to just a single run. Dreswick escaped the jam just a batter later by getting Sonnen to fly out to center, but her excellent appearance was certainly in jeopardy.

When she returned to the circle, she was nearing the 200-pitch mark on the day. Dreswick finished this game with 122 pitches, but her total pitch count on the day was much higher, thanks to the 81 she threw in relief of Allyson Frei in Game One. Dreswick walked Cameron Stanford to start the final frame, bringing head coach Ashley Obrest to the mound for an extended discussion.

But the senior stayed in the game.

“We had the doubleheader today, so I was throwing a lot of innings, and I was really trying to take it one pitch at a time, one at bat at a time,” Dreswick said. “I think that one pitch got away from me—when you throw it hard, they hit it far. [I was] just kind of resetting, I knew I had the game.”

She was right: The senior capped off the series with three quick outs. First, she forced GT’s Katie Krzus into a fielder’s choice. Then, her fellow senior ensured the Eagles’ 30th win of the season.

Yellow Jacket Crosby Huckabay lofted a soft liner into shallow left field that looked like a single, but Sharabba raced across the turf to snag the ball before it could drop in—perhaps saving the game. A groundout to Martinez later and BC’s win was official—but it came following a much more painful performance.

Game One was the Brooke Barfield show. The sophomore threw a complete game gem that overshadowed Dreswick’s excellent outing a few hours later. Barfield allowed just four hits in seven innings, shutting the Eagles out while striking out four and awarding first base to just three Eagle batters. The only BC batter who came close to touching up Barfield was DiEmmanuele, who managed two hits in her four at-bats—the only Eagle with more than one hit in the first matchup of the day.

Regardless of whether BC’s bats could have heated up in the first half of the doubleheader, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. Redshirt junior Allyson Frei had her second-straight shaky start after giving up five runs Friday night before the Eagles battled back to secure a walk-off win. Frei threw two-plus innings of three-hit softball, but gave up five runs again—four of which were earned. Her biggest mistake came in the top of the third, when Roper hit a grand slam that just stayed fair of the right field foul pole to chase Frei from the affair.

Obrest appeared ready to go back to her in relief of Dreswick, though, if necessary. Frei was up in the bullpen during the bottom of the sixth inning, as Dreswick’s pitch count threatened to cut her outing short in the following frame.

But Dreswick finished out the contest and went the distance later in the day, guiding BC to its 13th ACC victory of the year. In both games, the winning team committed only one error and the losing team committed three. Dreswick surrendered runs in only the sixth inning of both games, and each winning team had seven hits on the day. The entire doubleheader was essentially a mirror of itself, yet the end of Game Two had a lot more emotion behind it.

As Martinez threw across to Sellers for the final out of Game Two, Sharabba was already sprinting toward Dreswick. As Sellers put the final out of the regular season away at the first base bag, nobody’s eyes were on her—they were all on Sharabba as she jumped into Drewick’s arms one final time.

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor

May 5, 2018