Softball stands strong: extra-innings

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Leeanna Zagrodnik '26 winds a pitch at a game against Delaware Valley on April 2. Photo from Muhlenberg's Zenfolio.

The Muhlenberg softball team had a busy weekend with games against Washington College and Dickinson. Unfortunately, the Mules lost a doubleheader on Saturday against Washington College. Then, in the match against Dickinson, the players went into extra-innings in both games. Although the Mules lost 5-6 in the first game against Dickinson, they came back with a score of 6-5 securing the win for the last game.

As the team members reflected on their weekend full of play, Sophia Cicchetti ‘24, commented, “We played a doubleheader versus Dickinson this past weekend, and both games ended in extra-innings. This shows how motivated and hardworking our team is to succeed. We stayed determined and gave it our all until the very end of every game because it takes every single one of us to win a game.” In addition to the team’s motivation, Skyla Campisi ‘27 had similar observations and talked about things they can improve on. “During the game, we did a great job of keeping our energy up and supporting each other on and off the field. In the future, we are prioritizing making adjustments earlier on in the game to keep a strong defense and efficient offense.”

Nonetheless, the Mules were prepared for extra innings against Dickinson. Dara DiMaiolo ‘24 said, “We practice a lot of extra innings at practice, including International Tie Breaker both defensively and offensively. Going into extra innings, if anything, excites our team more because the game becomes more intense as it goes. When amazing things happen in this setting, it becomes even more exciting because things are at such a high-stake. This is not to say that there are no nerves during extra innings because of course there are, but we pride ourselves on being exciting during games which definitely helps those nerves subside.”

It is challenging going into extra innings in their first game against Dickinson and while keeping in mind they will be playing another whole game. To add to their mental fortitude, the Mules went into extra-innings in the second Dickinson game too. Their mental toughness and strength allowed them to succeed and end the game with a win. Cicchetti added, “I thought our team’s mindset at the end of the extra inning was great. We knew we could fight, so we kept our heads up. We fought until the very end. Other teams could have given up in the seventh inning, but we were determined to win, and our two trips into extra innings showed our determination and willingness to fight.” 

With a similar mindset, DiMaiolo recognized the team’s mentality and ability to take a setback and transform it into a comeback. “Obviously, after losing after ten innings, no one is going to be happy. Although, there is no time to be sad or mad because we had to play game two just a short 20 minutes later. I think, if anything, losing after ten innings just fired us up more to come back in game two and beat them. It was still a hard eight-inning-battle, but we quickly changed an angry attitude into a determined one.”

In looking towards the future of this team, it was monumental that the Mules won a conference game against Dickinson. DiMaiolo explains how these wins influence their future standing. “Every game we play influences the team and the foreseeable future. Conference games, like the extra-inning Dickinson games, are extremely important. In order to make the Centennial Conference (CC) playoffs, we need to be placed in the top five, so we need to win as many conference games as possible heading into playoffs. Obviously, the goals after we play those games is to win CC’s and head into regionals, etc. As we are in the middle of our season and conference play, we really have been focusing on positivity and excitement, in games and in practice.” The Mules have a clear strategy in moving forward toward playoffs. 

Ultimately, the Mules ended on a positive, strong finish to their weekend full of play. This performance shows their grit in the face of adversity and how they respond to challenges. In considering their mindset in the preseason until now, the players have not wavered in their goals. Campisi said, “During the preseason a large portion of our team said that our goal was winning the conference and making it to Texas for the national championship. Our goal has not changed at all. While we are focused on each game, our overarching goal is serving as a motivator for us as we are at the height of our season.” 

The team’s goals also align with individual goals focused on positivity. Cicchetti said, “My preseason goal is to always have fun on the field and that definitely won’t change. It is my last season and I want to give it my all and just have fun out there playing one last time with my teammates.” Overall, the Mules persevered through their extra-innings, remained confident in their abilities and all shared the same objectives for the future. 

To see the Mules back in action, their next game is on Saturday, Apr. 13, at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at Gettysburg College.

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My name is Lexi Sipos, and I am a double major in English literature and political
science. I play on the women’s soccer team and cover the sports section for the
Muhlenberg Weekly. More importantly, I love to read and write.

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