The cold Boston weather didn’t faze the Emerson women’s softball team in their first home games since their spring break trip to Florida. The Lions won both games at the Field at Rotch Playground, bringing their record to 6-6 (2-0 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference) on the season.
Head Coach Phil McElroy said that coming home to Rotch Playground was a shock for the team after playing in the Florida sun for a week during their trip to Orlando.
“It was a huge weather change, coming from 80 degrees to 40 degrees,” McElroy said. “Pitching and hitting are great when it’s warm out, but it’s hard for the girls to grip when it gets cold.”
The Lions, who played four top-ranked teams in Florida, came home with a record of 4-6.
Mount Ida offered a bit of a challenge for the Lions in the days’ first game, but Emerson emerged victorious after seven innings.
“The first game was a lot closer than it should have been; we had some timely hits to score our seven runs,” McElroy said. “Their pitcher was a little faster than we expected, but we really kind of let them in the game, let them stick around.”
The Lions did no such thing in the second game, however.
Emerson pitcher Angela Jorgensen took the mound in the top of the first inning. Three Mount Ida hitters stepped up to the plate; three Mount Ida hitters were retired.
With bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the first, senior captain Lindsay DeStefano unleashed a monster hit into center field. Mount Ida’s outfield struggled to make a play and DeStefano came all the way around for a grand slam, the first of two by the Lions in the second game. The round-tripper gave the Lions a 4-0 lead.
“It felt good,” DeStefano said. “[It was] redemption after I had struggled a bit in the first game.”
The onslaught was only just beginning for Emerson. The Lions were up 8-0 at the close of the first inning; a few more runs and a second grand slam caused the game to be called due to the mercy rule after just five innings, giving Emerson the 15-1 win.
McElroy was not surprised by his team’s strong performance, instead viewing it as a solid day’s work.
“These were two games we were supposed to win, that we did win,” he said.
McElroy explained that he would be disappointed if his girls, who finished first in the GNAC last year, didn’t perform up to that standard.
DeStefano said she is confident about the rest of the season.
“We know we can compete with anyone,” she said. “If we play our A-game, we should win every game.”
The weather wasn’t the only difference the team saw at home. Rotch Playground is wide open, which allows for greater distances on hits than the fenced fields they played in while in Florida-ultimately leading to the massacre on Saturday.
“Anything in a gap at Rotch is probably a home run,” DeStefano said. “We took advantage of that.”