The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

UMW Women’s Softball fights blows in windy doubleheader against Randolph Wildcats

3 min read
Female softball player in a light blue and white jersey.

UMW Women’s Softball team will play against Mary Baldwin University on April 2. UMW Athletics


Staff Writer

Fighting against high winds during their midweek doubleheader on March 20, the UMW Women’s Softball team beat the Randolph College Wildcats 9–6 and 8–4. This double victory comes a day after their split-win doubleheader against Eastern Mennonite University on March 19.

According to Hannah Steele, a junior mathematics major who plays in- and outfielder, it was a struggle to play in such windy conditions.

“Before almost every pitch, the wind would pick up bad dust storms that I couldn’t see through,” Steele said. “There were times when the other team had hit the ball and my teammates had to turn away from the batter because the dust was blowing strong from that direction.”

Shelby Presgrave, a sophomore business administration major who plays center and infield, shared a similar experience.

“The wind definitely played a big part yesterday and was an obstacle for us,” she said. “There were multiple times where gusts of winds would pick up dirt and it would be difficult for us to see.”

In the first game, Mary Washington had a slow start. The Eagles were behind by two runs in the first and second innings, but they were able to reel the game in and match Randolph’s pace by the third inning. 

Every time Randolph made a run, UMW was never far behind. As the sixth inning came along, the Eagles scored three runs.

Randolph was able to score once more during the seventh inning, but that couldn’t stop UMW from taking the lead again. Pitcher and infielder Caitlyn Burch—a junior business administration major—took charge of the field and led the Eagles to their victory in the first game. 

The second game was less consistent than the first as the wind amped up. Despite the obstacles, the Eagles came out stronger by working as a solid unit to score during the first, second and sixth innings. During the sixth inning, the Eagles scored five runs followed by a home run by center fielder Hailee Danneker, a junior accounting major. 

Randolph scored in the third, fourth and seventh innings and hit one last run during the seventh inning, but that didn’t stop UMW as Danneker and Burch ran down on a wild pitch. 

Burch pitched every inning of the second game. During her time on the mound, she allowed three runs and struck out nine Randolph Wildcats.

Throughout the game, Mary Washington gained momentum. Infielder Bridget Laychak hit a home run to level the playing field, allowing the Eagles to come out on top and secure another win against the Wildcats.  

About the game, Head Coach Hanaria Qualls said, “In both games, we did a very good job of adjusting. You can see in the sixth inning we scored the most runs and that is strictly because of the adjustments we made at the plate.” 

Playing as a cohesive team allowed UMW to showcase the camaraderie that they develop on and off the diamond. 

“We have grown stronger in many ways during this season. We have seen a huge increase in communication and leadership amongst our veteran players,” said Qualls. “We have also seen an increase in on-field performance with hitting and pitching, which has led to more success on the field.”

In addition to the leadership from returning players, the players’ sportsmanship is an important factor in the team’s success. 

“After every game, my teammates and I chase down the umpires to shake their hands and thank them. It’s easy to maintain good sportsmanship with good competition because we are all there to just play softball,” said Steele.

UMW Women’s Softball will face off against Stevenson on March 27 and Randolph-Macon on March 30. They will then return to the Battleground on April 2 against Mary Baldwin University.