The Chapman softball team split a doubleheader against visiting National Fastpitch Coaches Poll No. 5 ranked Linfield College on Tuesday night. The Panthers (3-5, 0-4) took the first game 10-9 over the Wildcats (3-1) but lost the second matchup 3-2.
The Panthers have struggled to find consistency in the early season, and have yet to win a conference game after losing twice to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and twice to the University of Redlands, a matchup in which the Panthers threw away a three-run lead in the second game.
“I think we have to stay focused and keep up the energy the entire game instead of being up some innings and down in others,” said freshman outfielder Sydney Engelhardt. “Whenever we let up, the other team takes advantage and makes it harder on us to win.”
Chapman’s offense, in the first matchup against Linfield, put up six runs in the second inning and 10 runs overall. However, the Panthers blew the lead, but were able to make a late comeback.
The Panthers gave up six runs in the fifth inning, and three runs in the sixth inning, briefly falling behind 9-8. However, they battled back in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting up two runs off a sacrifice fly and an error by Linfield. Chapman then shut down the Wildcats in the top half of the seventh inning, securing the victory.
Chapman was not as fortunate in the second game, though it was just as close a game as the first one. The Panthers were ultimately unable to climb themselves out of a one-run hole they dug themselves into in the first inning.
Chapman responded to a two-run third inning from Linfield with Engelhardt singling home a run in the bottom half of the inning. The Panthers added an additional run in the bottom of the fifth inning, courtesy of a single from freshman infielder Elizabeth Runge. However, the Panthers followed this by stranding two crucial runners on second and third base, and were unable to put another run up, losing 3-2.
Engelhardt said that, despite her personally good play, she is more focused on getting a positive result for the team.
“I think everyone gets frustrated with losing whether you have a good game or not, but personally if I’m having a good game and we’re still losing, all I can do is hope that my success creates energy on the team to follow and gets everyone else going.”
The Panthers will need to improve in the conference if they hope to have a chance at the conference playoffs, something that Engelhardt says will come down to accountability.
“I think what we can take out of the early season as a team is that it takes all of us to win, so we have to hold ourselves accountable throughout the whole game and in practices as well.”
Chapman will travel to Occidental College (2-4, 1-1) this Saturday, where the Panthers will face off against the Tigers in a doubleheader at noon and 2 p.m.