Photo by Steve Woltmann.
Senior catcher Sarah DeMasi puts a strong swing on the ball as the Flyers wrap up their season.
The Lewis softball team ended their season Sunday, April 29 at the Lewis Softball field with a pair of wins over Drury. The Flyers came back from behind in both games to win 7-2 and 12-11 and concluded their season with two quality wins.
In the third inning of the first game, the Panthers jumped to a 2-0 lead with two hits, but the Flyers battled back in the fourth with a bunt single by senior catcher Sarah DeMasi. The single ignited the offense, which led to three more hits in the fifth, including DeMasi’s drive to right center field, which was the Flyers’ first run of the game. In the same inning, senior Kaylee Prieto scored on an error to tie the game, and sophomore Cierra Taylor drove another run home on a double.
The Flyers then added four more points in the sixth inning, finishing the game with eight hits over Drury’s seven. DeMasi, Taylor and sophomore Kendyl Strack led the team with two hits each, while junior pitcher Dara Sanders held the Panthers’ offense at only two runs.
The second game of the doubleheader began with a similar 2-0 jump from the Panthers in the first two innings, but the Flyers responded quickly by scoring three times in the second inning and reclaiming the lead 3-2. The fourth and fifth innings were a back-and-forth battle. Drury stole the lead by one point in the fourth, but the Flyers came back and tied the game on DeMasi’s single to left field, which brought home senior Emily Espinosa.
The fifth inning saw a lot of action as the Panthers gained momentum at the plate. They batted-in six hitters on three hits and three walks, jumping to a 10-4 lead. However, the Flyers maintained discipline at the plate when swinging, forcing 17 straight balls out of the zone by Drury pitchers and walking the bases until the score was 10-8. Together, DeMasi and freshman Morgan Weber drove in three runs, again stealing the lead 11-10.
The remainder of the game was a battle of momentum with the Panthers loading the bases in the third for Sanders to force a lineout to end the inning. Senior Cori Reynolds advanced through the bases to add a run in the sixth on a wild pitch, even though Drury attempted to battle back in the seventh with a home run, Sanders ended the game on two clutch plays.
With nearly 20 hits in the two games, the wins were a team effort with heavy senior action in the last weekend of their careers. DeMasi believed that their mindset helped them rally from behind. “As a team, we went into this weekend with the mindset of having nothing left to lose and to leave everything we have on the field,” said DeMasi. “Being the last weekend of the season, we really wanted to finish the season with some wins.”
The final set of games mark the bittersweet finish of the five seniors’ collegiate softball careers. For DeMasi, who has been playing since the age of six, this will be no small change. “It’s a bittersweet moment being done,” said DeMasi. “I’m super happy we were able to end with some wins on senior day, but at the same time, this sport has been a huge part of my life for many years, and I will truly miss being a student-athlete.”
While the senior class will be missed, the Lewis softball team will be swinging in full force come next spring with new members and new talent.