By Samip Delhiwala
Published: May 10th, 2017
After a regular season plagued with both offensive droughts and defensive mishaps, the Bulldogs’ softball team still managed to slip into the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) Championships. But their 2017 season quickly came to a halt in a blowout loss that highlighted all of their struggles this year.
The sixth-seeded Brooklyn College Women’s Softball team fell to the third-seeded Lehman College Lightning in a 10-2 rout last Wednesday during the CUNYAC Championships Quarterfinals at Lehman’s South Field in the Bronx.
After a scoreless top of the first inning that stranded two runners in scoring position for the Bulldogs (6-25, 2-10 in conference), the Lightning (12-23, 7-5 in conference) instantly pounced on Brooklyn’s starting pitcher, Uena Xharo. Infielder and leadoff hitter Maranda Diaz wasted no time by hitting a double to right field, and then proceeding to steal third base. She later scored on Caitlin Vernon’s single to center field. Vernon then stole second base, advanced to third on starting pitcher Yaidee Nieves’ single, and scored on a Bulldog error to take a 2-0 lead.
After Nieves shut down the Bulldogs in a 1-2-3 second inning, the Lightning padded on two more runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 4-0 lead going into the third.
The Bulldogs’ offense failed to produce yet again, as it only managed to draw a walk in the third.
Then, Lightning struck in the bottom of the inning.
Vernon lined a triple to right field, and Nieves brought her home for the second time with a single back to the pitcher, taking a commanding 5-0 lead. Xharo then surrendered another single, and later allowed the runner to score on a wild pitch.
Lehman’s Andrelina Gil and Natasha Minier then hit back-to-back singles, and Gil advanced all the way home after BC’s third baseman Anna Curran committed a throwing error. Xharo subsequently tossed another wild pitch, allowing Minier to score to give the Lightning an 8-0 lead.
But the Bulldogs’ third inning misfortunes did not end there.
Xharo walked Lehman infielder Linda Resto. When Resto attempted to steal second base, BC catcher Shakira Feliciano’s poorly aimed throw went past the bag and allowed Resto to advance to third base. It was the Bulldogs’ third error of the inning, and fifth in the game. Resto scored during the next at-bat on a passed ball, and Feliciano’s back-to-back miscues capped the Bulldogs’ defensive implosion in the inning, trailing 9-0 heading into the fourth inning.
BC’s offense finally showed signs of life in the fourth. Designated hitter Brianna Preston’s RBI single brought home Feliciano, and Preston later scored on the Lightning’s only error of the game. But the Bulldogs only managed to cut the deficit by two runs, and still trailed 9-2 heading into the bottom of the inning.
Xharo finally seemed to be finding a rhythm on the mound after inducing a groundout and flyout to the first two Lehman batters. But with two outs, the Lightning rallied for two singles and a walk to load the bases. Xharo then walked pinch hitter Genesis Paulino, forcing Julines Reynoso home from third base and giving up an insurance run to Lehman.
Nieves ended the game and the Bulldogs’ season quickly, striking out the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning and subsequently provoking two weak groundouts.
Xharo’s final pitching line consisted of four innings pitched, and she was brutally tagged for 10 runs on 12 hits while walking four batters and striking out only one. Nieves limited the Bulldogs to just two runs on two hits, with three walks and six strikeouts. Xharo fell to 4-13 on the season with a whopping 9.10 earned run average (ERA), while Nieves improved to 9-13 with an 8.25 ERA.
No matter how anemic BC’s offense was, it was the team’s lack of command on the pitcher’s mound and abysmal infield defense that unraveled any chances it had to win the game. The Bulldogs have struggled to play clean defense all season, often committing three or more errors in multiple games.
Lehman College advanced to the CUNYAC Championships Semifinals, where they were eliminated after losses to the first-seeded College of Staten Island and second-seeded Hunter College.