On a day where the weather rapidly changed every two seconds, going from windy, to sunny, to cloudy, and rainy all in one day, the performances of the Marist Red Foxes could be described in the same way. For the second straight time, Marist had to reschedule their game because of inclement weather.
Today they took on the Manhattan Jaspers in their final set of home games this season. They earned a split with a tough 2-1 loss in the first game, but Marist responded with a resounding 9-0 win in game two. Despite the Jaspers being towards the bottom of the MAAC, they proved to be a tough test for the Red Foxes.
Most of the first game was about the performances from the two pitchers, Red Fox graduate student Calista Phippen and Jaspers freshman pitcher Sophia Kiseoloski.
In the fourth inning, Marist had their best chance of the game when they had runners on first and second with two outs. Up at bat was senior catcher Meghan Davis who was coming off one of her best performances of the season against Quinnipiac, with a chance to do some damage. But she popped out to the Jaspers shortstop senior Lauren Rende to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, Manhattan made Marist pay instantly as Jaspers junior catcher Megan Hedlund led off the inning with a towering shot over the right center field wall for a solo home run, giving the Jaspers a 1-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, the Jaspers took advantage of a Marist miscue in the field to score another run. Manhattan had runners on first and second with two outs, Phippen was trying to get out of a jam. A hard ground ball hit by Jaspers junior designated player Lily Fish went past the glove of Marist redshirt freshman shortstop Haley Ahr into the outfield allowing a run to score, giving the Jaspers a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Red Foxes responded thanks to back-to-back doubles, first from Ahr, and then from sophomore first baseman Maddie Pleasants who drove her in with a rocket down the left field line. This cut the Manhattan lead to only one, with the score now being 2-1.
Davis came up to bat with another opportunity to make an impact, this time with runners on first and third with two outs. She drove the ball deep to right field in foul territory, a ball that seemed like it was out of reach until sophomore right fielder Anissa Villalobos made a diving catch to end the inning.
That proved costly as the Jaspers held on in the seventh to win the first game 2-1.
In game two Marist got the bats reignited and were able to give senior pitcher Kiley Myers a nice cushion. Myers had another dominant outing giving up only one hit, no walks, with six strikeouts in five innings.
For Myers, pitching with a lot of run support makes her job so much easier.
“It takes off so much pressure, just knowing that I can just throw through the zone to the batters [and] not [be] worried if they get a hit or something, because I know I have the run support,” said Myers.
Marist did their damage in the bottom half of the second inning. The action started when sophomore utility player Lauren Morrell scored from third base on a wild pitch.
Then the Red Foxes got contributions from two of their freshmen, catcher Isabella Manory and center fielder Peyton Pusey. First, it was Manory who hit one into left center field for a base hit, scoring junior third baseman Alyssa Grupp and sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Husic, making it 3-0.
A couple of batters later it was Pusey who slapped one into center field, scoring two more, giving the Red Foxes a 5-0 lead. Once again, a couple of hitters later, Ahr joined in on the fun as she hit with a bouncer that went off the circle into the outfield for a base hit, scoring two more making it 7-0.
In the third inning, senior left fielder Hannah Brock went out in style in her last home game as she blasted a two-run home run that sailed over the right field fence, making it 9-0 Marist.
Brock, who hasn’t been a regular starter until her senior year, has worked hard to get to this point, and playing in her last home game left her with a flurry of different emotions.
“It’s been bittersweet, college softball has been a lot of highs and lows for me, but I’ve had very good teammates and friendships on this team including all of the other seniors so I’m just really happy to finish it out strong with them,” said Brock.
Myers would cruise the rest of the game and since Marist was up by at least eight runs, the game was called after five innings.
For Marist head coach Joe Ausanio this senior class means more to him than most.
“This class probably more than any other is just super special because [of] having to have deal with COVID. What they’ve been through is a lot and I’m just really proud of the way that they embraced all the adversity that we’ve had to deal with over the past four or five years. I’m happy that they ended on a really high note here for their last home game,” said Ausanio.
The Red Foxes will be back in action Friday as they head to New Rochelle to take on Iona, and then on Saturday, they will head to Connecticut to take on Fairfield to close out the regular season.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Marist Athletics