Gearing up for crunch time

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Sophia Cicchetti '24 high-fiving her teammates. Photo by Gabby Mattei '25

This year’s softball edition of the battle for the Lehigh Valley happened to go the way of the Moravian Greyhounds, but Muhlenberg did not go down without a fight.

On Thursday, Apr. 20, at Cedarcreek Field, Moravian defeated the Mules 4-2 and 8-1 consecutively in the teams’ doubleheader for the 2023 season. Although the score lines were not in favor of the home team, if a few bounces were to have gone the other way in either game, the results could have favored ‘Berg. In game one, the Mules competed well, grabbing a 2-1 lead in the third, but unfortunately letting it slip in the fifth and failing to find a way to climb back. However, they demonstrated their unwillingness to play passively by attacking their opponents head-on with intensity and grit.

Although on the losing end, the Mules did many things well in this matchup against a solid Moravian team. “One thing that I believe went well in our first game against Moravian was our ability to make adjustments to something we typically struggle with. We have been working on, as a team, hitting the outside pitch solidly throughout our practices this season,” commented Infielder Kaitlyn Buurman ‘25. 

In retrospect, things are not always as bad or as good as they seemed in the moment, and it is a good sign the Mules are still observing the positives of their displays during this doubleheader. “I think a lot of positives came out of the games for the team. Moravian is always a strong competitor against us, and the Lehigh Valley rivalry is real. Knowing this, we wanted to give them a good game,” said Infielder Kaya Mahy ‘25. Learning from losses is a robust predictor of future success, and this team is always eager to do just that. 

The Mules travel to Swarthmore and McDaniel this week for doubleheaders that will make or break the Mules’ playoff hopes for this season. Lessons learned throughout the year will inevitably shine throughout all four games. “Something that we as a team have learned from the most recent games is the importance of wanting to ‘punch back.’ If we, as a team, get scored on and need to score runs to make up for the deficit, we need to do everything we can to back up our pitchers and work hard for one another to prove that we want to win ball games,” explained Buurman. 

The Mules also hope to display their adaptability on the field when other teams mix things up. “If there is one thing we as a team need to focus on going into our final two conference doubleheaders, it is making adjustments. Recognizing what the other team is doing to us and then making quick adjustments to force the other team to have to alter their plan is imperative,” added Mahy. 

“Something that we as a team have learned from the most recent games is the importance of wanting to ‘punch back.’”

Kaitlyn Buurman ’25

This upcoming stretch for Muhlenberg softball is going to make a statement both within the program and to onlookers, rivals, and alumni. It is up to the players and coaches of this specific squad. Regardless of what has happened thus far for the Mules, they are ready to give it their everything. 

“Going into these crucial conference games, we need to have resilience. We have struggled this season but need to leave it in the past and focus on sweeping the next two doubleheaders to have the possibility of securing a spot in the conference tournament. We know we are fully capable of doing this, and we need to trust ourselves and each other. When we play confidently, selflessly, and with fight, we see the best results. With the correct mentality, we have a good chance at getting some wins out of the next two weeks and hopefully beyond,” said Mahy.

On Saturday, Apr. 29 make sure to tune into Centennial Conference TV as the Mules take on McDaniel at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. 

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