Author: Marina Dart
The Occidental women’s softball team donned hot pink uniforms on Saturday for their double-header against Chapman, part of the team’s annual Strike Out Cancer event. The Tigers fell 9-7 in the first game of the series, but came back strong during the second game, winning 5-1.
The Tigers wore pink during the games to honor Annalise Fischer, a local teenage softball player recently diagnosed with cancer and currently undergoing chemotherapy. The SCIAC conference softball coaches chose to support and honor Fischer through the Strike Out Cancer games, and the SCIAC softball programs are banding together to honor Fischer and her passion for softball by raising funds for her family in addition to wearing pink during the games. Occidental’s team carried around buckets all last week collecting donations for Fischer’s treatment, and will continue to do so until the end of this week.
According to team captain Mariah Montgomery (junior), playing in honor of Fischer gave special meaning to Saturday’s games.
“It was really exciting to be playing for something so much bigger than ourselves,” Montgomery said. “It really gave the games purpose … and truly made us appreciate the ability to be able to play the game we love.”
Though the Tigers made four fielding errors during the first game, they played a solid offensive game, with a clutch hit from Alex Battest (first-year) in the bottom of the sixth scoring three runs. Mackenzie Priley (first-year) also had several crucial hits during the first game, hitting a triple into right field in the first inning, a double into left field in the bottom of the third, and another double into center field in the bottom of the fourth.
However, a strong offensive game by the Panthers, who had 15 hits, resulted in a 9-7 loss for the Tigers.
Oxy played much better the second game, committing only two fielding errors and providing solid defense for starting pitcher Olivia Thayer (first-year). Thayer pitched all seven innings.
“I think the second game we really played like a team,” Battest said. “We had defense to back [Thayer] up and [made] great plays when Chapman came back on offense.”
Thayer pitched four strike-outs, and even hit a single in the bottom of the fourth, bringing in a run for the Tigers.
“I think what went really well for me was that I was able to hit my spots for the majority of the game, and also the fact that the defense had my back,” Thayer said.
Priley continued to hit successfully in the second game, knocking in the first runs for the Tigers by hitting a two-run home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the third. After walking in the bottom of the third and stealing second, Priley scored on a single from Samantha Yee (first-year).
According to Priley, the team worked hard for their win on Saturday.
“We have all been putting in a lot of extra work on our own time, on top of team practices, and that is finally paying off,” she said. “On a more personal note, I saw the ball really well today and just capitalized on the spots the pitcher was giving me.”
Priley sees Saturday’s 5-1 win as a possible turning point for the team’s season.
“We have had a couple rough moments this season,” Priley said. “However, we are such a talented team, offensively and defensively, and our game today really showcased our potential and what we are capable of achieving. I have high hopes for the rest of our season.”
Thayer also saw the game on Saturday as a step toward the Tigers’ redemption for their losses earlier in the season.
“I feel like our stats aren’t entirely representative of how well we can play” Thayer said. “[Saturday’s] games were definitely a step in the right direction, but we have yet to prove to the other teams what we are truly capable of.”
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