Softball sweeps Colby in doubleheader, breaks program record for wins in a season

First-year Caroline Bass broke the school record for hits in one season and the Bates softball team broke the program record for wins in a season with a doubleheader sweep of Colby on Saturday, April 28, 2018. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

WATERVILLE, Maine -- After clinching a spot in the NESCAC tournament on Friday, the Bates softball team broke the program record for wins in a season with a doubleheader sweep of Colby Saturday, taking game one 11-3 and blanking the Mules 1-0 in game two. 

With their two victories on Saturday, the Bobcats (20-13, 5-7 NESCAC) break the previous school record of 18 wins in a season, first set in 2001 and matched in 2012. Their five NESCAC victories are their most since 2012. Bates will be making its first appearance in the NESCAC tournament since 2009 when they went 6-6 in conference play. 

First-year Caroline Bass (Newton, Mass.) tallied four hits over the course of two games on Saturday, giving her 50 this year, the most in program history for one season. 

The single elimination NESCAC tournament will be hosted by West Division winner Amherst beginning Friday, May 4 through Sunday, May 6. 

Game One: Bates 11, Colby 3

The Bobcats scored three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good and their six runs in the seventh inning put the game out of reach in an 11-3 win over the Mules in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.

First-year Payton Buxton (Middlebury, Vt.) went the distance to pick up the win in the circle for Bates. Buxton (7-4) scattered eight hits over seven innings, allowing three runs while striking out four. 

Trailing 1-0, Bates tied things up in the second. With one out, Buxton singled. Junior Mimi Crowley (Barnstable, Mass.) doubled her home to even the score at one.

The Bobcats took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third. Junior Andrea Russo (Cheshire, Conn.) doubled to start the frame and sophomore Kirsten Pelletier (Sidney, Maine) doubled her home.

The Mules tied the game in the bottom of the third but Bates took the lead for good with a big fourth inning. 

Buxton walked to lead off the inning and one out later senior captain Tori Fitzgerald (Holliston, Mass.) got hit by a pitch. Bass tripled in Buxton and Fitzgerald to put Bates up 4-2. Pelletier got hit by a pitch and sophomore Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) singled in Bass to extend the lead to 5-2.

Colby got one back in the bottom of the fifth before Bates ran away with the game in the top of the seventh. An error, a walk and another error loaded the bases, chasing Colby starter Wiley Holton (1-13) from the game. First-year Mary Collette (Watertown, Conn.) greeted new pitcher Lucie Cunningham with a three-RBI double, making the score 8-3. 

After Buxton reached on an error, Crowley drove in Collette with an RBI groundout. A wild pitch plated Buxton and Bates led 10-3. The fourth Colby error of the inning scored the sixth Bates run and the Bobcats went up 11-3. 

Every Bates hitter tallied a hit or scored a run in the contest. The Bobcats outhit the Mules 10-8. 

Game Two: Bates 1, Colby 0

Senior Paige Ahlholm homered and Pelletier tossed a complete game two-hitter to lead the Bates softball team to a 1-0 victory in game two of Saturday's doubleheader. 

Ahlholm (North Andover, Mass.) smacked her first home run of the season and the third of her career in the top of the fourth to give the Bobcats the only run they needed in the win. 

Pelletier (11-8) struck out eight and did not walk anyone in the complete game victory, her 17th of the season. Pelletier's 112 strikeouts this year are the second most in one season in Bates softball history. 

Julia Saul (1-13) pitched well for the Mules (2-28, 0-12 NESCAC) in defeat. She scattered seven hits over seven innings, allowing just one run while walking one and striking out three.

Pelletier worked around a Bates error to toss a scoreless first and left a Mule stranded at third in the second inning. After she worked around another error in the third inning, the Ahlholm rewarded her effort with her leadoff homer in the fourth. 

The sophomore right-hander tossed a perfect fourth inning and worked around a one-out single in the fifth. She retired the final eight batters of the came to secure the complete game shutout.