Knights split pair at Cal
Going Dutch is overrated.
For the Gannon University softball team, at least.
The Knights split both sets of doubleheaders with conference contenders California and Indiana universities of Pennsylvania on Friday and Monday.
In the first of those two matchups, coach Tom Jakubowski said he was pleased with the team for stealing one from the typically dominant Vulcans, who Jakubowski said are always the ones to beat in the conference.
“Cal’s kind of like the gold standard,” he said. “We were happy with the split because they’re such a good team and we were playing there, but we were disappointed because we were so close. It would have been monumental.”
The first game against Cal was decided after sophomore Kirstie Cortazzo crushed a grand slam in the eighth inning of play to cement the 9-4 victory. Junior Sam Scott said the team played well in order to pull off the upset.
“Nobody expects Gannon softball to beat Cal, especially on their own field,” she said. “With Kirstie starting off the game with a homerun and ending it with a grand slam, epic.”
Gannon was extremely close in the second game as well, holding the Vulcans scoreless through six innings of action and posting the first run of the game in the seventh inning. However, Cal was bolstered to victory by the bat of Shelby Heyd, who Jakubowski said could have been wearing a Gannon uniform that day.
“We had been recruiting her, so it was kind of ironic,” he said.
Though the Knights looked to carry their momentum into Saturday against IUP, their hopes of doing so were doused by a rain delay that pushed the game back to Monday.
“At first I thought that a day off might be good for us,” Jakubowski said, “but now that I look back, I think the momentum we had from Friday at Cal we sort of lost over the weekend because even though we won one, we didn’t play well.”
After gutting out the first game for a win, the Knights couldn’t get their offense going against IUP pitcher Kelly King, who pitched a four-hit shutout.
“She was a good pitcher, but it wasn’t like she was a dominant pitcher,” Jakubowski said. “We were flat, we were really flat. I was really disappointed.”
Jakubowski said that something he likes about his team is that there are no superstars, but that this forces new people to step up in each game.
“It seems like every game, somebody else steps up and has a big game to help us win,” he said. “In that second game it didn’t happen, nobody stepped up.”
Looking ahead, the Knights will take on Mercyhurst and Slippery Rock universities 1 p.m. Friday at the Gannon University Field and Saturday at Slippery Rock.
Jakubowski said in order for the Knights to be successful against these teams – especially the Lakers, who were picked by the coaches to finish first in the PSAC, even ahead of Cal – they will have to be more consistent with their hitting.
“It seems like we’re really hot and cold when we’re on offense,” he said. “There’s games we’ll score nine runs, there’s games we’ll score no runs. We have to find a happy-medium.”
Scott said that the loss to IUP will only serve to motivate.
“They [Mercyhurst] are sitting first in the PSAC,” she said. “I know there’s nothing more we’d like to do than take that away from them.”
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