The Elon Softball Phoenix Invitational rolled on Saturday when the Elon University softball team faced off against St. Francis University on Saturday, Feb.18. Despite a late run by the Red Flash, the Phoenix held on by a final score of 4-3, and were able to pick up its second victory in the tournament. Head coach Kathy Bocock said she was happy the team could add another mark in the win column, but said there was still a lot of room for improvement.
“A win is a win, so we will take it however we get it,” Bocock said. “It was good at times, but we are still learning a lot.”
Senior first baseman Claudia Penny supplied the run support the Phoenix needed to take care of business. Penny finished the day with two for three with two doubles and three runs batted in. Her last two RBIs, coming with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, was what sealed the deal.
“We really made sure we were attacking our zone this week at practice,” Penny said. “I couldn’t get those runs without people getting on base first.”
After the game, Bocock said she was extremely proud of Penny and all of her upperclassmen for staying tough when the game got tight.
“Penny has a lot of confidence and that’s what we need her to do, and she did a good job for us,” Bocock said. “I have upperclassmen that have been there and done this before. That experience being there, they know how to handle it.”
Junior pitcher Meredith Wells opened up a strong five innings for the Phoenix, giving up just three earned runs. From there, sophomore pitcher Isley Duggins took the team down the home stretch. Duggins allowed just one hit in her two frames of relief. Penny said the team had confidence even when the Red Flash closed the game to a one run lead because of who was on the mound.
“We have a lot of trust in Isley. Meredith did a great job the first few innings and then once Isley came in, I think we really wanted to back her up and do it for her,” Penny said. “We wanted to make sure we got the win to secure for the pitchers who did so well today.”
Penny said the tough loss earlier in the week — a 9-5 loss in which the Phoenix had a five run cushion to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on Feb. 15 — gave the team a real wake up call.
“After UNC, we had a lot of fire under our butts,” Penny said. “Everyone has really come in and tried their best to have passion and have that seventh inning mentality that we have of wanting to win every single inning together.”
Elon will wrap up the Phoenix Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 19 against the James Madison University Dukes. Bocock said she hopes the team can put everything it has learned on the young season on display tomorrow.
“We just want to play well,” Bocock said. “We have one game tomorrow to take care of and regardless who it is, we need to come ready to play.”