SB: Colonels fall twice in Senior Day games against Manhattanville

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. — The Wilkes softball team celebrated senior day on Saturday, but were unable to win against Manhattanville, losing 5-1 and 3-0. 

Seniors Haley Welker, Gab Giordano and Caitlin Brown were recognized for their achievements before the games. 

Starting on the mound, Gracen Staunton set the game on track, only allowing one batter to get on base.

Wilkes took the early momentum into the bottom of the first with a hit from Sarah Gibson and a sacrifice bunt from Britny Jumalon. The starting pitcher for Manhattanville Alycia Keeney was able to shut down the rest of the Wilkes batters and keep the game scoreless. 

The second inning saw the same scoreless game, as both pitchers kept a tight lock on the opposing batters. The Valiants broke the scoreless tie with a five-run inning in the top of the third. Giovanni Liggett started the scoring barrage with a solo home run.

The Colonels had some runners in the bottom of the fourth inning, but were unable to capitalize and execute. Similarly, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Colonels left runners in scoring position when the inning ended, keeping the score 5-0. 

“Right now were not executing,” said head coach Sarah Leavenworth (Maulorico). “We can’t leave double-digit runners on base. We won’t win with that.”

The Colonels showed signs of life in the top of the seventh inning. Jordyn Kondras singled to first and Giordano walked, putting Kondras into scoring position. Gibson’s RBI-single brought home Kondras, cutting the Valiants’ lead to 5-1. With two outs though, the Colonels ran out of time and the Valiants finished off the game, 5-1 for the first of the doubleheader. 

Celine Podlesney took the mound for the Colonels in game two. Podlesney retired the side in one-two-three fashion in the top of the first inning. 

However, Manhattanville got to work in the top of the third inning. Podlesney walked Chapelone. The next batter for the Valiants, Alexis Ventarola, hit a home run, giving Manhattanville the 2-0 lead. 

Podlesney had similar pitching difficulties to that of Staunton in the first game. 

“They have great hitters all around, which makes it difficult to pitch against them,” said Podlesney. “I just tried to hit my spots and get my pitches where they needed to be.”

Wilkes went into the bottom of the fourth inning and was able to play their style of softball with more sacrifice bunts, allowing Jumalon to get into scoring position. But, pitching for Manhattanville prevailed and kept the Colonels off the scoreboard.  

“We are a small-ball playing team,” said Brown, the Colonels reliant third baseman. “We like to bunt, move runners over and execute, but today we weren’t executing.”Wilkes found themselves in trouble with the potential to let up more runs in the fifth inning, but Jamie Martin made a clutch catch in right field to keep the lead 2-0 in favor of Manhattanville. However, the Valiants did score an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Ali Orduna singled home Ventarola, extending the Manhattanville lead 3-0.

For the Colonels, the three batters grounded in their last chance to make a comeback in game two, making the final score 3-0. 

“We’re working a lot on our mechanics and fundamentals – a lot of it is just mental,” said Brown. “We just have to mentally figure out what we need to do personally and as a team to prevail over other teams.”

The Wilkes softball team gets back to work with doubleheaders against Clarks Summitt and King’s on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively.