Softball

The 26-10 Emory softball team picked up three wins in a four-game set against conference rival Case Western Reserve University (Ohio). The Eagles now sit comfortably in second place in the University Athletic Association (UAA) with a 12-4 conference record and are just two games back of Brandeis University (Mass.) for first place.

The Eagles got off to a strong start in the first game of the series, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Freshman outfielder Megan Weisenberg brought in the first run with an RBI single, and a fielder’s choice brought home the second. After each team added a run in the fifth, Emory held a narrow 3-1 lead as the Spartans went to bat needing to score in the seventh inning. The Spartans executed a double steal to score one run and then tied the game with a clutch two-out single to send the game to extra innings. In the ninth, senior shortstop Cassie Baca stepped up to the plate and delivered a go-ahead grand slam to give the Eagles a 7-3 victory in spectacular fashion.

The Eagles’ second game once again showcased the team’s flair for the dramatic. Down 7-1 entering the seventh inning, Emory wasn’t playing up to their high standards on both sides of the ball.

However, as Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta has been preaching all season, the team has a “never give up, never die mentality.”

Down to their last out in the seventh inning, the Eagles put that philosophy into action and strung together eight straight runs to take a 9-7 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, senior pitcher Madeline Maday retired the Spartans to secure the victory.

The third game of the series was another close, high-scoring affair. Each side exploded offensively in the fourth.The Eagles’ six-run inning was quickly followed by a five-run Spartan response. After six innings, Emory held a narrow 8-7 lead. The Eagles once again used their final at-bats productively and added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh. The Spartans had no response this time, and the Eagles won 10-7. With a home run and three additional hits, junior outfielder and pitcher Sami Feller was the star of the game, capping off an electric 11-16 weekend at the plate. Feller, who was awarded UAA Softball Hitter of the Week, attributes her success to the support of her teammates.

“I’m feeling confident,” Feller said. “I’m feeding off my teammates’ energy, and it’s working.”

In stark contrast to the first three games, the fourth game was a pitcher’s duel between the Eagles’ sophomore Madison Schaefer and the Spartan’s Sidney Brannam. Through six innings, neither pitcher allowed more than five hits. However, the Spartans held a slight advantage after a two-run home run in the first inning. Looking for more late-game heroics, the Eagles cut the deficit to one in the seventh inning. Although Emory had runners on the corners, they were unable to tie the game. The Spartans won 3-2.

On April 26 and 27, the Eagles will finish their regular season at Brandeis University (Mass.) for a crucial four-game set that will determine the winner of the UAA. The Eagles will need to win three out the four games in order to capture the UAA title.

Even though Baggetta expects the team to prepare as they do for other games, she admits that this series has more weight to it.

“It’s as close as [we] get to a conference tournament,” Baggetta said. “It’s exciting to see what it will be like on that stage.”

The Emory softball team, now 23-9 on the season, continued their quest toward a second consecutive University Athletic Association (UAA) title this past weekend with a four-game series split against conference rivals New York University (NYU). The team also celebrated their Senior Day.

The series got off to a dramatic start in the first game, as extra innings were needed to decide the winner. Down two runs in the third inning, the Eagles strung together a timely five-hit, two-out rally to regain a 3-2 lead. After three scoreless innings for both sides, NYU provided some clutch hitting of their own with a game-tying single to force extra innings.

In the 10th inning, Emory won the game in truly bizarre fashion. NYU pitcher Cassi Parulis attempted to intentionally walk senior outfielder Jenna Wilson when an errant pitch drifted too close to the plate. Wilson capped off a terrific three-hit game with the game-winning RBI single to give the Eagles a 4-3 walk-off victory.

“When I saw that pitch, I knew I had to take my chance,” Wilson said.

The second and third games of the series were both characterized by unexpected offensive frustration for the Eagles. Emory scored only two runs in each game and didn’t register a hit in eight of the 14 innings played, even though the team currently leads the UAA in total runs scored by over 50 runs. In contrast, NYU complemented their stellar pitching performances with five runs in each game and walked away 5-2 winners in both games.

Despite the recent lackluster offensive performances, Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta has faith in the team’s ability to return to their high expectations.

“We need to go into an attack mindset and stop worrying about results,” Baggetta said. “This team has a never die, never quit attitude, [so] we’ll be fine.”

The fourth game brought another frustrating start for the Eagles. They were held scoreless through the first four innings, and things only worsened as NYU opened up a three-run lead in the top of the fifth. However, determined not to let Senior Day end on a sour note, the Eagles roared back in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a two-RBI triple from junior third baseman Greta Wilker and RBI hits from senior shortstop Cassie Baca and freshman first baseman Mattie Ryan. Sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer locked down NYU in the final two innings to preserve the 4-3 comeback victory.

After the final game, Emory took time to honor their seniors. The team recognized the impressive achievements of seniors Baca, Wilson, Max Faass, Lana Herrmann, Toko Miller, Madeline Maday and Sam Vincent over their four years at Emory.

Baggetta believes this recognition is fully deserved.

“I couldn’t have walked into a greater group of women,” Baggetta said. “They are so open and willing to face new challenges.”

The Eagles now go on the road for the remainder of the regular season, starting with a four-game series against Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) on April 19 and 20.

The Emory softball team won three out of four games this weekend against the Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) Bears to push their record to 21-5 in overall play and 7-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). Though the loss snapped the Eagles’ 11-game winning streak, the Eagles still tout an impressive record.

While Emory finished the weekend with a series win, the Eagles lost a nail-biting first game against the Bears 6-5. The Bears used a four-run fourth inning to break a 2-2 deadlock and raise the score to 6-2. However, the Eagles would not go down without a fight, and they trimmed the deficit to two in the sixth inning.

In the last inning of the game, junior outfielder Sami Feller drove in a run after hitting a single with the bases loaded. Another runner attempted to score on Feller’s base hit, but was thrown out at home. Sophomore utility player Meghan Murphy came up with runners on second and third only to strike out for the second out of the inning. The Eagles’ final attempt to tie the game resulted in a fly out.

Despite the difficult loss, the Eagles rebounded to win the next three games by a combined score of 25-5.

In the second game, the Eagles were led by sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer, who threw a two-run complete game and improved her season record to 8-1. The Eagles also used a balanced effort on offense to push past the Bears, as seven players got hits in the 3-2 victory.

In Sunday’s doubleheader, freshman first baseman Mattie Ryan, senior outfielder Jenna Wilson and Feller lead the way in an offensive barrage, resulting in a pair of mercy-rule victories.

The first game of the doubleheader saw the Eagles win 9-0, with Ryan hitting two home runs and senior pitcher Toko Miller throwing a three-hit shutout.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the offense once again carried the team, as they collected 11 hits in five innings. Ryan hit another 2-run home run, and Schaefer earned her ninth win of the season during the Eagles 13-3 victory.

Ryan won UAA Softball Hitter of the Week for her stellar performance this weekend. She hit .455 over the weekend, going five for 11 at the plate with eight RBIs and four runs. Ryan is hitting .354 with 19 RBIs on the season.

The Eagles will be back in action again on April 10 for a doubleheader at Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.).

The Emory women’s softball team opened up University Athletic Association (UAA) play this past weekend with a commanding four-game sweep over the Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.) Tartans.

Senior shortstop Cassie Baca said the defending UAA Champion Emory Eagles were eager to give the newly founded Tartan team “not the nicest welcoming into the conference.”

The Eagles got off to a fast start in the first game of the series with a pair of two-RBI hits, one from freshman first baseman Mattie Ryan and one from senior outfielder Jenna Wilson, giving them a four-run lead after two innings. In the fourth inning, Wilson highlighted Emory’s aggressive base-running approach by stealing two bases before scoring on a wild pitch. Sophomore utility player Meghan Murphy added an RBI single to bring the Eagles’ run total to six. On the defensive side, sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer was consistent throughout the entire game, never allowing more than two hits in a single inning. Emory came away 6-2 winners.

The second game was a one-sided affair to say the least. The Tartans scored their only run of the game in the first inning and took a 1-0 lead. The rest of the game showcased the juggernaut that is the Eagles’ offense. Across the first four innings, in which Emory scored 17 runs, every Emory starter scored at least once and six players recorded multi-RBI games. Senior pitcher Toko Miller gave up just one hit after the first inning to force the mercy rule after five innings with Emory up 17-1.

Baca believes that high levels of offensive production are to be expected from this team.

“We feed off of each other offensively,” Baca said. “[Every player] has a drive to win and is really hungry to get on base.”

Despite the offensive explosion in the second game, Emory struggled to find that same production early in the third game. Through four innings, senior pitcher Madeline Maday had kept the Tartans scoreless, but Emory wasn’t able to muster any runs. Carnegie Mellon broke the deadlock in the fifth inning with an RBI single to give themselves a one-run lead entering the final two innings. In the sixth inning, Baca put Emory on the board with a clutch, two-RBI triple, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead. Two more insurance runs in the inning gave Maday a 4-1 lead entering the last inning. Maday comfortably retired the Tartans, recording a save and securing a 4-1 victory.

In the fourth game, the Eagles aimed to prove that their second game’s double-digits performance was not a fluke. The only inning Emory didn’t score in was the first. After that inning, the Eagles exploded for 10 runs and once again accomplished staggering offensive achievements, including that nine different players recording hits. Miller was back on the mound and only allowed two runs all game. Emory won by a score of 10-2, forcing the mercy rule in the sixth inning.

The Eagles are currently on an 11-game winning streak and have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 record in conference play. Despite their convincing recent wins, Baca insists the team has no fear of becoming complacent.  

“Each week [we have] a new goal, and everyone sets a challenge for themselves personally,” Baca said. “Sure we put up a bunch of runs, but we were far from perfect.”

Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta shares the same mindset.

“We can clean up our process and be sharper in a lot of areas,” Baggetta said. “We have to keep asking ourselves, ‘How can we be better?’”

The Eagles are back in action on April 5 when they travel for a four-game series against Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.).

The Emory women’s softball team continued their impressive season, recording sweeps in a pair of two-game series against Covenant College (Ga.) on March 21 and LaGrange College (Ga.) on March 24.

The Eagles were dominant in their first game against the Covenant Scots and forced the mercy rule with an 8-0 lead after five innings. Sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer cruised to her fourth win of the season with a two-hit complete game. Junior second baseman Sarah Katz was the star of the show offensively as she had two extra-base hits, including a three-RBI triple in the third inning that put the game out of the Scots’ reach.

The second game proved far less one-sided than the first as Emory held a narrow 2-1 lead through the first three innings. In the top of the fourth inning, the Eagles notched a pair of two-RBI hits by senior catcher Lana Herrmann and senior outfielder Jenna Wilson. This opened up a convincing 6-1 lead for the Eagles, and despite giving up a run in the bottom half of the fourth, Emory extended the lead to 8-2 by adding two more runs in the sixth. However, Covenant still had some fight left in them and produced a five-run sixth inning to cut the lead to one. Emory used their final at-bats productively and once again established a larger lead with a three-run seventh inning.

In relief of senior pitcher Madeline Maday, senior pitcher Toko Miller took the mound for the Eagles. Miller retired the Scots in order in the bottom of the seventh, securing her third save of the season as Emory completed the sweep against Covenant with an 11-7 win.  

Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta was delighted with how her team responded to Covenant’s late push and believes the team has improved at reacting positively when other teams score.

“There is less of a panic when a team scores a run [against us],” Baggetta said. “We are confident in our ability to score more runs and make timely plays defensively.”

Emory then returned home for a double header against a hot LaGrange team riding a six-game win streak.

Emory wasted no time in the first game, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning thanks to an RBI single from Wilson and a sacrifice fly from senior shortstop Cassie Baca. The strong start continued in the second, with RBIs courtesy of junior outfielder Sami Feller and Wilson. Miller, back on the mound for the Eagles, pitched a complete-game, allowing just three hits and one run. Emory added a pair of insurance runs late to walk away as 6-1 winners.

In the second game, a four-run third inning highlighted by freshman outfielder Baylee Wall’s two-RBI single propelled Emory to yet another large and early lead. LaGrange cut into the Eagles’ five-run advantage with a three-run fifth inning but couldn’t complete the comeback. Once again, Emory’s clutch late-game pitching was crucial in preserving the lead, this time provided by Maday.

With the four wins this past week, Emory now boasts a 12-4 record and have won 10 of their last 11 games. Miller believes the team is currently in a great position to achieve a lot this season.

“This team is the strongest I have seen over my four years and has the potential to win [a national championship],” Miller said. “[We want to] keep improving, and I’m hoping to see us peak in the postseason.”

The Eagles return for an away double header against Berry College (Ga.) on March 27.

The Emory women’s softball team took advantage of an action-packed schedule last week, winning all four games at the Emory Invitational and picking up an additional victory against Maryville College (Tenn.). Now roughly a quarter of the way through the season, Emory boasts a strong 7-3 record and is currently on a five-game winning streak.

The week began with a trip up to Maryville for a doubleheader on March 10. The Eagles struggled to find offense in the first game, a problem rarely encountered by a team averaging over six runs a game. Despite senior pitcher Toko Miller and junior pitcher Sami Feller giving up just two total runs to Maryville, Emory could muster only a single run from sophomore infielder Natalie Arreguin’s solo home-run in the second inning and lost the game 2-1.

Determined to prove that their lackluster offense in the first game was an anomaly, the Eagles stormed back in the second game. The Eagles scored eight runs, highlighted by junior catcher and third baseman Greta Wilker’s three-run shot in the sixth inning. Emory won 8-3.

The following day, the Eagles returned home to kick off the Emory Invitational against the University of Rochester (N.Y.). A three-run fifth inning by the Eagles broke open a previously tied game and propelled Emory to a 5-3 win. Sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer kept the Yellowjackets at bay with a solid outing, allowing three runs in five innings.

In their second game against Rochester, Emory once again displayed their offensive prowess. The team scored 10 runs in just four innings to force the mercy rule in the fifth. Freshman outfielder Baylee Walls had a career day at the plate, driving in four runs, including a three-run triple in the first inning. On the mound, senior pitcher Madeline Maday picked up her first win of the season, allowing only one run in a dominant five innings of work.

Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta was pleased with the pitching throughout the week.

“[The pitching] has improved every day,” Baggetta said. “[Good pitching] puts not as much pressure on the offense.”

The invitational continued with a doubleheader against Emory and Henry College (Va.) on March 13. In the first game, Emory only needed two innings of work to produce all the damage required to win. A four-run first inning and a three-run fourth gave Miller more than enough run support, as she only allowed four runs in a complete game performance. Sophomore utility player Meghan Murphy impressed at the plate with five RBIs and went on to be named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Co-Hitter of the Week for her performances throughout the invitational.

The second game proved to be a classic pitchers’ duel between the Wasps’ sophomore pitcher Alex Braun and the Eagles’ Schaefer. Even though Emory and Henry broke the deadlock in the fourth inning, Schaefer kept her composure and kept the Wasps scoreless the rest of the game.

“My job is to shut them down and trust that my team can produce on offense,” Schaefer said.

Her trust was rewarded in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Eagles were able to give her a 2-1 lead. In the seventh, Schaefer retired the Wasps in order, giving her a complete game win, allowing just one run on four hits.

The Eagles have one more week of non-conference play before they look to defend their UAA crown. Heading into conference play, Baggetta insists they won’t look to approach UAA games any differently.

“[We will] continue to worry about one pitch, one inning at a time,” Baggetta said. “We like [our] constant fight and never give up mentality.”

Emory split a home doubleheader against Piedmont College (Ga.) on Mar. 19, losing the first game 7-0 and winning the second game 9-2.

The Eagles return for a doubleheader at Covenant College (Ga.) on Mar.21.

The Emory softball team won two of three games against DePauw University (Ind.) to claim their first series win of the season on March 3.

DePauw came out of the gate swinging, scoring seven runs in the first inning. Emory responded in the bottom half of the inning with a two-RBI single from sophomore third baseman Natalie Arreguin to cut the lead to 7-2.

After a disappointing first inning, senior pitcher Madeline Maday pitched six straight shutout innings to limit the Tigers to a final tally of seven runs. However, the first inning provided all the offense DePauw needed, as Emory’s three runs in the last three innings were insufficient. Depauw prevailed, 7-5.

The Eagles bounced back in the second game of the series with an impressive offensive display that produced a season-high of nine runs.

Senior shortstop Cassie Baca had a huge game at the plate, producing three RBIs on three extra-base hits. Sophomore designated hitter Meghan Murphy added an RBI and a pair of runs. Senior center fielder Jenna Wilson also stole multiple bases and scored all three times she was on base.

Senior pitcher Toko Miller remained stalwart through six innings, limiting DePauw to four runs. Junior pitcher Sami Feller shut down any possibility of a Tigers’ comeback in the seventh inning, allowing Emory to pick up their first win of the season, 9-5.

Baca was proud of the Eagles’ response in the second game of the series after starting the season with an 0-2 record.

“We had two options,” Baca said. “[We] could have let [the slow start] continue, or [we could] bounce back. [The second game] proved the team has some fight.”

The series rubber match fittingly proved the closest of the three games.

A comparatively low-scoring game saw DePauw take a narrow 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer had a strong outing, allowing only four hits and one earned run, but DePauw contained Emory’s offense similarly up until this point.

In the bottom of the fifth, Emory took a commanding 6-3 lead thanks to a four-run inning led by a two-RBI double from junior second baseman Sarah Katz. In the top of the sixth, DePauw answered with two runs to make it a one-run game. An Emory insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth sent Miller to the mound in the seventh with a 7-5 lead.

Miller blanked the Tigers in the last inning, earning a save and securing the series win for the Eagles.

Although the last two victories proved exciting for the team, Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta remains more concerned with the team’s growth than with their results at this stage in the season.

“Our focus is to continue to grow,” Baggetta said. “Softball is a repetition sport and [we want to] get into a good rhythm.”

Emory goes on the road next week to face Maryville College (Tenn.) for a March 10 doubleheader before hosting the Emory Invitational from March 11 to 15.

The Emory women’s softball team suffered a narrow 7-9 defeat in their season opener against Berry College (Ga.) on Feb. 24.

Emory’s offense started brightly. The Eagles notched a run in each of the first two innings, thanks to RBI singles from junior right fielder Sami Feller and senior infielder Sam Vincent. Sophomore shortstop Natalie Arreguin led the way in the third inning with a two-RBI double as Emory produced four additional hits, two walks and two steals to put up an impressive five-spot on the board in the inning.

Senior pitcher Toko Miller had an equally impressive start, rendering the Vikings scoreless through four innings after getting out of bases-loaded jams in the first and third innings.

Over four innings, Emory compiled a commanding 7-0 lead. However, the latter half of the game told a different story.

Arreguin believed the Eagles’ mentality changed after going up big early.

“We had a false sense of security up seven runs,” Arreguin said. “We became OK with not scoring more.”

Berry roared back in the fifth inning, finally turning hits into runs against Miller. After allowing four runs, Head Coach Adrianna Baggetta replaced Miller on the mound with Feller, who was able to momentarily stop the bleeding.  

Unfortunately for the Eagles, Berry’s offensive momentum continued into the sixth inning as a two-run home run shrunk Emory’s lead to 7-6. The Eagles had a great opportunity to respond in the bottom half of the inning, but came up empty despite loading the bases.

With a one-run lead entering the final inning, Baggetta handed the ball to sophomore pitcher Madison Schaefer. Schaefer struggled with her control, allowing Berry to score the tying and go-ahead runs on wild pitches. An RBI single capped off a three-run seventh inning, completing the Vikings’ comeback.

Emory was unable to string together a response in the bottom half of the seventh and fell to Berry, 7-9.

Despite the disappointing loss, Baggetta was still encouraged by her team’s play.

“Everyone stepped up and made something happen at some point in the game,” Baggetta said. “[The loss] can’t get bent out of shape. [We need to] learn from it and move forward.”

The second game of the scheduled doubleheader against Berry was halted due to darkness at the top of the fourth inning with Emory leading 3-0. The game will resume at an undetermined later date.

Emory will host DePauw University (Ind.) on March 2 for a doubleheader with the first pitch scheduled for noon.

The 2018-19 school year has introduced new faces to the Emory Athletics coaching staff, adding Head Diving Coach Michael “Mike” Haun and Head Softball Coach Adrianna Baggetta to the roster.

Head Diving Coach Michael “Mike” Haun

After the departure  of former Head Diving Coach Alexandre Kossenkov over the summer, Haun brings his collegiate diving experience and enthusiasm for the sport to his new role.

A former diver at North Carolina State University, Haun currently works as a safety coordinator at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and has coached at Henry W. Grady High School and North Atlanta High School for the past two years. He received his MBA at Georgia College and State University and his bachelor’s degree in business management at North Carolina State.

Courtesy of Michael Haun

“Mike really stood out just because he’s so enthusiastic and really committed to the student athletes we have here and the community we’ve built,” Swimming and Diving Head Coach Jon Howell said. “He really is excited to dive in and to see what he can do with the program.”

Although the season will not officially start until late September, Haun has already set high goals with this year’s diving squad.

The past two seasons saw top marks from individual divers. Junior Trevor Burke earned third and second place in the three-meter and one-meter competitions, respectively, at the 2017 UAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Sophomore Katie Kushner earned second place at the 2018 UAA Championships for the one-meter diving competition and finished eighth in the three-meter.

“We want to continue the high performance in the conference championships and the NCAAs and have the success that we’ve enjoyed in previous years,” Haun said. “We want to continue that championship tradition.”

Howell expressed his desire to see the diving team succeed nationally alongside the swimming team and affirmed his belief in Haun’s abilities to reach that goal.

“[Our goal is] to get [the diving program] to a national stage that’s on par with the swimming program,” Howell said. “We’ve had divers as individuals who’ve done that, but I think with Mike’s leadership and his enthusiasm, we can really help that program really take a step forward, and I think it’ll benefit the swimming and diving team as a whole.”

Head Softball Coach Adrianna Baggetta

Courtesy of Emory Athletics

Formerly the associate head coach of the University of Iowa softball team, Baggetta touts Division I national recruiting experience and a solid understanding of the Emory student athlete in her new role as Emory’s head softball coach, replacing former Head Coach Penny Siqueiros.

Baggetta spent the past 16 years as a Division I coach, split equally between the University of Iowa and the University of South Carolina where she was also a team member from 1999 to 2002.

“[We were looking for] somebody who … can help people grow and who also understands the importance of academics,” Clyde Partin Senior Director of Athletics Michael Vienna said. “We want success certainly in terms of wins and losses, but first and foremost, [someone who] understands that the athletics program is part and parcel of a larger Emory education.”

Coming from Division I and Division III schools, Baggetta noted that both environments had a similar emphasis on academics.

“It’s still the same mindset,” Baggetta said. “We’re still here to be champions in the classroom and on the field.”

Last year, the Eagles clinched their 11th UAA Championship title after a 7-1, 6-3 doubleheader victory against New York University on April 27. Their season ended during the NCAA DIII tournament, eliminated only after a 5-2 loss to Maryville College (Tenn.) on May 12.

Baggetta hopes to build off the momentum from the team’s success.

“I appreciate and put a lot of value on what has already been built as a softball program,” Baggetta said. “I’m looking forward to moving this program to where it’s a national contender year in and year out.”

Editor’s Note: Editorial Page Editor Madeline Lutwyche (20C) is a member of the Emory Swimming and Diving team. She was not involved in the composition or editing of this article.