Softball team starts season strong, throws combined no-hitter opening weekend

Softball is off to a 3-2 start following opening weekend trip to North Carolina.

Senior Ashley Barnett runs around the bases in a game last spring. The Orange, Calif. native started 16 games last year and hit .269 with nine RBI. Photo courtesy of Tom Wolf via GoGriffs.com.

The Golden Griffin softball team had an eventful weekend, scoring 35 runs in just five games at the Gardner-Webb Tournament in Boiling Springs, N.C. 

The team earned three wins in those five games, a stark contrast from last season where they weren’t able to nab a victory until their 12th contest of the season. In addition to their group success, the team saw three players earn MAAC honors. Lauren Castro earned player of the week, Sarah Cantley was named pitcher of the week, and Teagan Rice took home the rookie of the week award.

Their season began with a 5-1 loss to Youngstown State, where the Griffs found themselves down by only one run going into the seventh inning. It was in that inning that the Penguins added three more runs, handing Canisius the loss.

The Golden Griffins would not be deterred, and later the same day the team defeated tournament host Gardner-Webb, 9-5, where the team gathered nine runs on six hits. In the team’s first win of the season, Coach Kim Griffin commented that both Alexis Churchill and Lauren Castro pitched well in the victory, also emphasizing how well Castro did at the plate. 

The third game of the tournament was an impressive outing for the program, scoring eight runs and shutting out Maryland Eastern Shore, ending the game in five innings. Sophomore Hayley Tamaro and Cantley combined to throw a no-hitter, the first for Canisius in over a decade. The last no- hitter for the program was also an 8-0 victory, this one against Youngstown State on March 27, 2009. That effort was by a singular pitcher, then senior and team captain Mallory Aldred. The last combined no-hitter was two years prior to that, when Courtney Piar and Juliette Bowers combined their efforts to defeat Southern Utah in 2007.

The second game on Saturday did not go as well for Canisius, falling in their fourth contest of the season 13-2 to Gardner-Webb. The Griffs gave up 12 hits during the game, including three home runs, one of which was a fifth inning grand-slam that gave Gardner-Webb its 13th run.

Looking to rebound, their fifth and final game of the tournament was a powerful showing. Cantley struck out seven batters, and the team had 18 hits, scoring 15 runs in a 15-10 victory. The win was a milestone for the program, capping off a successful weekend with career win No. 100 for coach Griffin.

While it was satisfying to start the season off on a positive note as a team, earning the individual awards that they did will surely bolster team confidence as well. The Griffs will hope to bring their success with them to the other side of the United States next week, as they are prepared to take on San Jose State University three times, beginning with a doubleheader on Feb. 18, in San Jose, Calif.

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