The Elon University softball team entered its three-game weekend series against the University of North Carolina-Greensboro on a three-game skid. When the series came to a close with a 3-1 loss Sunday, the drought doubled to six.
Head coach Kathy Bocock said the team needs to keep its head held high but also play with more consistency.
“We have to focus on the good moments right now and keep moving forward,” Bocock said. “We need to get everybody on the same page and once we get there, we have a lot of talent.”
UNCG jumped on the board early with three runs in the top of the third. Spartans designated player and pitcher sophomore Jorde Chartrand started the attack with a two-run home run that soared over the right field fence. A few batters later, UNCG’s junior third baseman Brooklynn Maxwell launched a double just over the head of sophomore center fielder Chloe Hatzopoulos, scoring the third run of the frame.
Other than the three runs off three hits allowed in the third, the Phoenix defense held strong throughout the contest, as it only allowed three hits in the final four innings. Bocock said she has a lot of confidence in the team's defense.
“You just have to rely that they will make the plays, and they do,” Bocock said. “Our defense made some great plays behind our pitchers.”
The Phoenix was only able to get five runners on base and showcased just three hits on the afternoon, two of which came in the final inning. One of the three hits for the Phoenix was a solo homerun off the bat of senior first baseman Claudia Penny in the bottom of the seventh. Penny said the team has taken a better approach at the plate in the last stretch of games.
“I’ve gotten into the mentality of taking every pitch one at a time,” Penny said. “I think that everyone’s adopted that really well and been more aggressive in the box lately.”
The Phoenix had put up a combined seven runs and 18 hits in the previous two games against UNCG. Penny said she tips her cap to the Spartans for the adjustments it was able to make.
“They started hitting our weak spots,” Penny said.
Despite the loss, Penny said the last three games have been a learning experience for the Phoenix who get set to open up Colonial Athletic Association conference play against Stony Brook University on March 11 and 12.
Bocock said quick turnaround games like these get the team prepared for the double-header on Saturday and single game Sunday style format in conference play.
“That is why we do what we do,” Bocock said. “We are focused on getting ready, getting people playing, getting healthy and moving forward.”
The loss to the Spartans kicked off a six-game home stretch for the Phoenix, with its next game March 7 against the University of Detroit Mercy. After the mid-week game against the Titans, Penny said she hopes the team can use the homestead and conference play to heat up.
“We’ve had a lot of chemistry this year and are doing really well as a group,” Penny said. “We just have to build off that, work behind our pitchers and have the pitchers work for us.”
As for Bocock, she said she hopes to see the team do one thing over the next six games: win.