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The queens of diamonds won both games on Sunday against Lawrence (10—13) and Elmhurst (10—18) to improve to 18-8 on the current campaign.
“I’m happy with how the team played during those games,” second-year Kim Cygan said. “We came out strong both games and scored first, giving us success during the game.”
The first game against Lawrence was not as close as the final result may suggest. It started with a huge burst from the gates by Chicago in the bottom of the first. Third-year Sara Neuhaus capitalized with bases loaded single, bringing in two runs. A triple later by first-year Maddie McManus would bring in two more. The Maroons racked up five runs in total during the half-inning, providing what would become the winning margin. The Maroons would garner contributions from up and down the lineup for the 6—4 victory.
Neuhaus, who drove in the first runs, also pitched a gem marred only by a late grand slam by Lawrence in the seventh. However, she completed the game, striking out seven and walking two over the seven frames.
The second game against Elmhurst followed along the same trajectory. “Everyone played great defense and hit well,” Cygan said. “Elmhurst is a better team than their record suggests, so we knew we had to shut them down and jump on their pitching right away to score runs.”
The Maroons were up 3—0 when leading hitter Julia Schneider blasted a two-bagger into the gap in left center to put the game out of reach by five runs. Chicago scratched out eight hits over their six half-innings at the plate.
“Elmhurst is a great team, and being able to score six runs on them took all of us working as one cohesive unit,” remarked first-year Kaitlyn Carpenter.
But this game belonged in the hands of Cygan, who followed Neuhaus’s example in pitching a complete game effort. Cygan gave up eight walks but allowed no runs and recorded three strikeouts in the shutout. “Elmhurst is a power hitting team, and Kim pitched a great game, not allowing any runs,” Carpenter added.
“We did well against those teams, but viewing our statistics, we should have beat them by more,” second-year Samantha Hobson offered. “But the wins are great to have.”
On a side note, the doubleheader against Lawrence on Saturday was postponed because of rain in the forecast.
The Maroons are in the midst of a playoff hunt and may need to end the season with a bang to reach the regional tournament. “I think if we win out, we will definitely get a bid for post season,” Hobson said. “Though I believe that our record and our strength of schedule will allow us to make it there even [if we don’t] win out.”
The Maroons continue the quest for the playoffs today against Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 3 p.m. today.