Last year, the University of Maine softball season was shut down within the first two weeks of opening day due to the pandemic. On March 1, 2020 the Maine softball team ended up playing their last game of the 2020 season. Now, over a year later the team gets to step back onto the diamond to play ball.
Their first series of the season was set to take place in West Point, New York against Army University on March 6 and 7, but sadly that series was canceled. Maine’s opening day was pushed back and the wait for softball would last another week. Shortly after the weekend that would have been the opening week of their season, it was announced that Maine would travel to Andover, Massachusetts to take on Merrimack College on Saturday, March 13 for a double header.
The first game of the double header saw the UMaine team shutout, and the Black Bears were limited to only one hit in the game. The lone hit for Maine was a single from third-year utility player Keely Clark in the top of the third inning. Clark got on base later in the game when she was walked by Merrimack fourth-year pitcher Bry Michitson. Michitson played a complete game, struck out eight batters and did not let another player on base besides Clark the whole game. Merrimack picked up the 3-0 win on the back of Michitson’s spectacular outing. Fourth-year utility player Abigail Amato would hit a solo homerun in the third inning for Merrimack for the lone homerun of the game.
The second game of the double header saw the same result with Merrimack winning 3-2, but Maine was able to demonstrate its offensive skills. Maine’s first run of the season came in the fourth inning off the bat of Caitlyn Fallon. The second-year pitcher from Warwick, Rhode Island would single up the middle and drive in fourth-year centerfielder Shanna Scribner to cut Merrimack’s lead to 2-1. Merrimack would extend their lead to 3-1 in the sixth inning due to a defensive error by Maine. Maine’s second run of the season came in the final inning of the game when third-year player Brianna Neely scored on an error by Merrimack.
The next day Maine traveled to Fairfield, Connecticut to take on Sacred Heart University where they would compete in another double header that resulted in two higher scoring affairs. In the first game of the day, Maine picked up their first victory of the season on the back of third-year shortstop Kelby Drews’ four run-batted-in (RBI) performance. Maine heated up in the third inning when Fallon and Drews hit back-to-back home runs to give Maine a 3-2 lead. Drews would then hit a two-run home run in the fifth to extend Maines lead to 5-2. Scriber would get involved in the scoring, driving in a two-run triple shortly after Drews’ second home run to make the lead 7-2. Drews would get her fourth RBI in the seventh and final inning on a double to centerfield to make the final score 8-2. Fourth-year pitcher Kyleigh O’Donnell picked up the win while pitching a complete game with seven strikeouts and only allowing one hit.
The final game of the weekend saw the script of the first game flipped. Sacred Heart jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the fifth inning and looked as though they had the game completely in control. Maine refused to go down without a fight. An explosive sixth inning saw fFourth-year cCatcher Makayla Livingston hit a two-run homer to cut Sacred Hearts’ lead to 6-2. Using momentum from Livingstons home run, the Black Bears were able to get two runners in scoring position with their next two batters. Fourth-year right fielder Maddie Kimble hit a single, followed by third-year infielder Amanda MacBurnie hitting a double that advanced Kimble to third base. Third-year outfielder Emma Larke would come up to the plate and hit both in with a single. This cut the lead down by two more, making the score 6-4. Sacred Heart would respond to Maine’s offense with offense of their own. They would also have a four-run sixth inning. The nail in the coffin for Maine came on a three-run home run by third-year catcher Alyssa Gonzalez of Sacred Heart. Gonzalez’s home run increased their lead to 10-4, which would end up being the final score.
After the first weekend of play, Maine’s record stands at 1-3. Maine’s’ next games will be played on the road against Fordham University. They will play three games versus Fordham on the weekend of March 20-21. Maine’s first home series will not come until April when they take on the University of Hartford on April 10-11.