Bears roar past Brockport with offensive explosion to down Golden Eagles 9-4
For the first four innings of game one, Brockport sophomore pitcher Jaime Berger had held the Potsdam lineup in check with rise balls, fast balls and an array of good movement on her pitches.
But, then, the SUNY Potsdam softball team got just what they had been seeking all game—a collective team rally that put the pressure back on their opponent.
The Bears showcased much more patience at the plate and waited for their pitch in a fifth inning explosion that saw Potsdam send 14 batters to the plate. In all, it totaled eight runs on six hits and three walks in the inning alone.
It amounted to a single-game season high for most runs scored in a game (nine) and a single inning (eight) as SUNY Potsdam rallied past The College at Brockport 9-4 in a game one of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.
The fifth inning began on a single by senior third baseman Molly McCuin (Winthrop, N.Y. / St. Lawrence). Freshman left fielder Kelly Becker (Mahopac, N.Y. / Mahopac) followed by drawing a walk and then senior Shannon Pagliaro (Beacon, N.Y. / Beacon) squared to bunt, but a throwing error by Golden Eagles catcher Kelly Proper resulted in the Bears having the bases loaded with no outs.
Potsdam (5-23 overall, 4-12 SUNYAC) made Brockport (22-8 overall, 11-5 SUNYAC) pay as McCuin scored their first run on a wild pitch. The hot-hitting Alexis Lerman (Fayetteville, N.Y. / Jamesville-Dewitt) drove home Becker on a RBI double and senior Megan Johnson (Heuvelton, N.Y. / Heuvelton) followed with a RBI bunt single to cut the lead to 4-3.
Freshman leadoff hitting Jordan Ott (Hilton, N.Y. / Hilton) singled and moved to third on a pair of wild pitches. Lerman and Becker both scored as a result to give the Bears its first lead of the game at 5-4. After sophomore first baseman Katie Marsman (Wantagh, N.Y. / Wyoming Seminary) drew a walk, Brittany Thivierge (Schuylerville, N.Y. / Schuylerville) laid down a bunt. The throw home came in too late as Ott came across home plate safely.
Then, Proper attempted to throw Marsman out at second base, but the throw got out into centerfield with no fielders backing up the play. Marsman and Thivierge both came around to score to make it 8-4.
Marsman would go on to double home Ott in the bottom of the sixth to conclude the scoring as Potsdam broke Brockport's five-game winning streak.
"It was a big moment for us," said Ott, who had three doubles, a single, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored on the day. "It shows that we have taken strides to beat a team like that."
"Khalshia [White], one of our captains, told us that we had to make them work, make them make pitches and start attacking when we saw our chance. She [Berger] has really good movements on her pitches and attacked the zone. If she got ahead in the count, you put yourself in a tough spot because she has a really good rise ball."
Potsdam was able to mix just enough patience at the plate with just enough aggressiveness to successfully execute the rally.
"We've improved so much throughout our lineup one through nine," Ott added. "We are now starting to get hits and see some runs. [In that inning], I had put all my batting equipment away and I had to get it back on again. It was good to see us start jumping on some of their pitches."
Ott had a four-hit day and inched her batting average up to .333 on the season to reclaim the team lead in that category.
Lerman continued her torrid hitting pace as well by collecting three more hits on the day. The Jamesville-Dewitt High School alum is 8 for her last 15 at the plate and has raised her batting average by 86 points in the past five games. During this span, the sophomore has five doubles, a home run, five RBI and two runs scored.
"It was important for us to work the count," Lerman said. "That was exciting to score that many runs. I think at the start of the season, I was tense. I've been more relaxed and waiting for my pitch. My dad records all my at bats so I watched that to understand what I had been doing at the plate. You have to wait for our pitch. You can't put too much pressure on yourself."
The Bears also played error-free ball in both games.
"I know if I get the ball that Ott or Katie will be there for me," said Lerman of the improved fielding that Potsdam has shown in recent games. "We've come a long way since Florida. Everybody is working hard and working together."
The Golden Eagles enjoyed a 4-0 early lead when Proper, a junior, hit a two-run home run to right center field as part of a four-run third inning for Brockport. Emily Dumas and Sarah Rosenbarker each tallied a RBI as well in the inning.
In game two, Brockport rode a strong pitching performance by sophomore Korey Kibling, who went all six innings and allowed just four hits and struck out six as the Golden Eagles answered with a 9-0 win in six innings. Junior Andrea Schell was 2-for-3 with three RBI while Brianna Harris, Sarah Rosenbarker, Emily Dumas each batted 2-for-4 to lead Brockport.
Ott batted 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and a stolen base for the Bears in game two.
Potsdam will return to the field to play at St. Lawrence on Monday at 3 p.m. for a nonconference doubleheader.