The Elon University softball team bounced back from its midweek defeat at the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill by getting the better of North Carolina Central University in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, winning 6-1 and 10-2 while also bringing the program’s win tally over 700.
Freshman pitcher Kenna Quinn was given the nod in the first game, and was able to fight her way out of a bases-loaded situation in the top of the third inning with two outs in order to get the Phoenix off the field and keep the game scoreless.
Much like last weekend’s doubleheader versus Hampton, the first contest saw both teams struggle at the plate to start the game. But both weekends saw the Phoenix trail before coming from behind to secure victories. At the end of the day, head coach Kathy Bocock took note of her team’s sluggish starts and cool comebacks.
“They're just a team that's very laid back — but they respond, then they see things, then they work together and come out swinging,” Bocock said. “If you score early, it gives the defense confidence, so we’re really working hard on that.”
The first run was not recorded until the top of the fifth, when the bases were loaded for the second consecutive inning, and Quinn’s wild pitch struck the batter, sending home NCCU’s runner on third to give the Eagles a lead they would not enjoy for long.
“I knew I had to come back because I let them down by hitting a batter and walking a run in,” Quinn said. “So I just beared down and got it done.”
Quinn’s resilience was rewarded over the following two innings when her teammates took control of the game by scoring six unanswered runs, four coming from a pair of two-run homers — one by senior catcher Carey Million and one by sophomore infielder Erica Serafini — over the left field fence, that gave Elon a lead it would carry through to the end.
The second game saw both teams come out hot in the first inning with a combined eight hits and six runs, nearly eclipsing the combined run total from the first game. Three of Elon’s four runs in the first inning came as a result of Million’s second homer on the day, which pushed the Phoenix ahead of NC Central by a run and gave it a lead it would not let slip.
“It felt good [the home run] especially because it helped us win,” Million said. “It’s good to see us come back when we’re down and pound runs.”
The Phoenix went on to score six runs in the next three innings, forcing the game to be called after five innings because of the mercy rule.
“I think they’re grinders, and I enjoy being out here with them every day,” coach Bocock said. “They’re fun to watch, they’re exciting to watch, and they are definitely grinders.”
Saturday’s two wins improves the Phoenix's record to 5-1, and the team will take the field again at noon Sunday, Feb. 19, as Elon hosts the University of Virginia in yet another doubleheader.