Softball Starting to Make Up for Slow Start: Griffs Start MAAC Play This Weekend

By Dave Maurer

Sports Reporter

The Canisius Women’s Softball Team did not get off to a great start in the early goings of their season, but the team is starting to show promise as the Griffs enter Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. The bats have since started to produce and the pitching has been steadier, allowing the Griffs to find ways to win games. The Griffs open MAAC play this weekend and will look to build off of recent success to come away with another pair of wins.

The Griffs traveled to Fairfax, Virginia, to take part in the annual Cherry Blossom Classic hosted by George Mason University. In their opening game, the Griffs took on St. Francis (PA) and thing did not go well on the mound for sophomore pitcher Madi Weathers. Weathers took the loss as she gave up nine runs in just over five innings pitched, while the lineup only produced one run. The Griffs faced Georgetown that same afternoon and were able to come away with a 4-1 win, led by freshman Lauren Castro’s solid afternoon on the hill where she pitched seven innings and only allowed one run to get her first collegiate win. The Griffs lineup used a three-run third inning to take the lead for good, led by junior Jessica Berzins’ RBI triple. The Griffs left Virginia with a 1-2 record after a bad loss to George Mason and the rest of the weekend called due to rain.

The Griffs traveled to New York City for the Columbia Classic and started the weekend off with a bang. The Griffs started the weekend playing Columbia, the host of the tournament, and came away with a 5-0 win. Berzins, Lindsey Silfer and Moriah Harris all hit solo home runs against the Lions and Erika Mackie earned the complete-game shutout, allowing only four hits. Silfer’s solo shot was her team-leading sixth of the season and the 14th of her career, which moved her into a tie for third all-time on the school’s career home run list. The Griffs took on Farleigh Dickinson in their second game of the day and did not let up, as some of the freshmen lead the way to a 6-0 win against the Knights. Freshman Denver Keller hit her first career home run, a solo shot, while Castro and fellow freshman Allie Block combined for a shutout on the mound.

“It felt great off the bat and I hadn’t hit a home run in a while so it was a little surreal, especially since it was my first collegiate home run,” Keller said. “Winning the game made the home run feel that much better.”

The Griffs faced Farleigh Dickinson again the next morning and came up on the short end. The Griffs were tied at 2 with the Knights through the sixth inning before Berzins hit an RBI single to give the Griffs a 3-2 lead. However, The Knights used a two-RBI double in the final frame that left the Griffs with a 4-3 defeat. In their second game of the day, the Griffs played another game against Columbia and the Lions hit a two-run home run in extra innings to send the Griffs home with a 3-1 loss.

After returning home to Buffalo, the Griffs took on cross-town rival Buffalo in the first game of a two-game stand. Erika Mackie went the distance and took home the win for the Griffs from the mound, fanning five and allowing only one run. Silfer hit a three-run homer in the first inning to give the Griffs 3-0 lead and junior Samantha Sharkey scored on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning en route to a 4-1 win.

In the first home game of the year, the Griffs hosted Buffalo and played to a fantastic finish. Senior Meghan Cuda hit a two-run home run in the bottom half of the seventh inning, allowing Berzins to step up to the plate and drive in freshman Madison Aston for a walk-off double to give the Griffs a 7-6 win. Weathers earned her first win of the season and the lineup produced thirteen hits to give the Griffs their second win over the Bulls in as many days.

“It felt good to be able to contribute to the win,” Berzins said. “Our team has been struggling this season, but we are starting to put the pieces together.”

The Griffs were slated to play Quinnipiac and a doubleheader against Robert Morris, but all three contests were rained out. The game against the Bobcats will be made up on Friday, May 6, with game one set for 1 p.m. However, no make-up date has been announced for the doubleheader against Robert Morris.

MAAC play begins this weekend as the Griffs play host to Siena on Sunday in a doubleheader with the first game starting at noon. The Griffs will then travel to take on Syracuse for a doubleheader on Wednesday.

“I think this momentum can definitely carry into MAAC play. We have all the tools it takes to be successful and we are starting learning how to incorporate them,” Berzins said.


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