SUNY Potsdam softball coach Shannon Dillabough has said that the Dot Richardson Tournament in Clermont, Fla., is one of the hardest tourneys that the program has faced in recent memory.
Entering Sunday, the Bears were still seeking their breakthrough moment.
And despite losing to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (WI) 4-2 and Williams College (MA) 5-2, Potsdam showed plenty of signs of improvement in all facets of the game.
"We've come a long way in three days," Dillabough said.
"It's all about getting ready for the season. It's trial by fire. We've faced some adversity and are seeing how much we can improve. Today, we improved by 100 percent in every aspect of the game. We've had people on base all week and we finally got some big hits. Katie [Marsman] came through with a big hit. And, we had the bases loaded another time, but the ball was hit right on the screws and right at the player for a double play. This is why we came down here—to get better."
The aforementioned hit by Marsman, a sophomore third baseman from Wantagh, N.Y., came with the bases loaded in the top of the third inning to give Potsdam its first lead of the season. It was a two-run double for the first RBIs of the season for the Bears. Freshman shortstop Jordan Ott (Hilton, N.Y. / Hilton) and sophomore Alexis Lerman (Fayetteville, N.Y. / Jamesville-Dewitt) each scored on the play.
In the bottom half of the third, the Warhawks' Amy Ricci tied the score at 2-2 by driving in both Kelly McGrail and Samie Seamon on a two-run single.
Potsdam had an opportunity to take the lead in the top of the fifth when senior Khalshia White (Saint Regis Falls, N.Y. / Saint Regis Falls) singled, Ott drew a walk and Lerman reached base on a fielder's choice to load the bases. But, Brittany Thivierge (Schuylerville, N.Y. / Schuylerville) lined into a double play that caught White out at third base and then Marsman grounded out to second to end the threat.
Ricci broke the tie with a RBI single that scored Seamon in the bottom half of the fifth inning after Seamon had led off with a double. Bears' freshman catcher Angela Yodis (Duanesburg, N.Y. / Schalmont) threw out pinch runner Deven DuCharme, who substituted for Ricci on the base paths.
Whitewater tacked on another run in the sixth to hold on for a 4-2 win. Freshman Brittaney Barr (Ogdensburg, N.Y. / Ogdensburg) pitched admirably for the Bears in defeat by working six innings.
In game two, catcher Taylor Donze knocked in a bases-clearing single that scored three runs in the top of the second inning as Williams College went on to beat Potsdam 5-2.
Thivierge threw out a runner attempting to steal third base in the top of the first inning to complete a strike out, throw out double play to end a threat. Thivierge again threw out a runner attempting to steal in the third inning.
After trailing 4-0, Lerman led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, stole third base and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Thivierge. Marsman followed with a single and later scored on a three-base error that Kelly Becker (Mahopac, N.Y. / Mahopac) was able to reach on to make it 4-2. Becker stole third base, but was stranded after reliever Brooke Bovier came on to strike out Erin Murphy and Noelle Rufa to close out the inning.
Potsdam threatened again in the sixth inning when Lerman and Thivierge both reached base via error and Becker singled, but a pair of pop up outs and a pick off at third base ended the potential rally.
And, in the seventh inning, Rufa and White were able to reach safety and each steal a base. And, once again both were left stranded on base.
Megan Johnson (Heuvelton, N.Y. / Heuvelton) was the hard-luck loser in the game. Johnson (0-2) went the full seven innings and allowed five runs—two earned and walked four and struck out two.
Potsdam will have Monday off before returning to the diamond to take on Saint Catherine University (MN) and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (WI) on Tuesday morning beginning at 9 a.m.