Softball Continues Disastrous Start: Griffs sit at 4-16 after going winless in the Capital City

By Dave Maurer

Sports Reporter

The Canisius Women’s Softball team is off to an atrocious start in their 2016 campaign, and there are plenty of improvements that need to be made. The Griffs traveled to Washington D.C. this past weekend and lost all four of their contests as the bats fell silent and the pitching was lackluster. The Griffs, despite not having started play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, see themselves in the bottom half of the standings after finishing last year’s regular season on top.

The Griffs traveled south to Washington D.C. and took part in the Capital Invitational, a tournament hosted by George Washington University. Their first game was on Friday against the Colonials, and the game ended in dramatic fashion. In the final frame of the tie game, a Griffs fielding error allowed Monica Macchiarulo to score from second and gave the Colonials a 4-3 walk-off win. Erika Mackie pitched a complete game for the Griffs, striking out six in the loss.

The Griffs faced Gardiner-Webb, a team from central North Carolina, in the second game of their Friday doubleheader. Coach Kim Griffin made some lineup changes in the contest against the Bulldogs to get some experience for the younger players, including freshman Lauren Castro’s third career start on the mound for the Griffs. Castro pitched well in her five innings for the Griffs, only giving up two runs. Junior Lindsey Sifler gave the Griffs the lead on a solo shot in the fourth inning, her team-leading fifth home run of the season. The Griffs had scoring opportunities in each of the final three frames, but could not convert on their chances.

“We have to focus in during big situations when we have runners in scoring position,” sophomore first basemen Moriah Harris explained. “We need to start swinging at pitches that we’re can drive hard and we really need to stop helping opposing pitchers get ahead in the count.”

The loss kept the Griffs winless in one-run games so far in 2016. On Saturday, the Griffs took on Akron in their first of two meetings that weekend with the Zips. The Zips took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first before Meghan Cuda hit a solo home run to equalize the game at one in the bottom of the second. The home run was Cuda’s 14th of her career, moving her into ninth in program history. From there, the Griffs bats fell silent and the pitching left plenty of balls over the plate for the Zips’ bats. The Griffs did not manage another hit in the game, and the Zips took over as they went on to a 5-1 win. Mackie started the game and was awarded the loss after pitching nearly the entire contest.

“Our pitching unit has done well getting ahead of hitters, but we’re giving up a lot of hits on 0-2 and 1-2 counts,” Mackie said. “Once we’re ahead, we need to work extra hard to get that out by placing our pitches in better spots to try and get ground outs or pop outs.”

Sophomore Madi Weathers started the second game against the Zips and pitched a complete game, allowing only three runs on six hits. However, the Griffs bats fell silent yet again. The Griffs only managed six hits and were held scoreless. Harris had two of the Griffs’ six hits in the loss. The defeat was the fourth in a row for the Griffs, dropping them to 4-16 on the season.

The Griffs look to turn things around as they travel to Fairfax, Virginia, for the annual Cherry Blossom Classic hosted by George Mason University. With five games to be played over the course of three days, the Griffs look to improve in all areas of the game against the likes of St. Francis (PA), Georgetown, George Mason and Cornell.

“We need to break each game down a little and slow everything down. If we take each game play by play instead of looking at the entire game as a whole, we’ll be in a better position to start winning some games.” Harris said.



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