Softball ‘Stangs Are Swinging

Stevenson looks to keep the bats hot as conference play approaches
Softball Stangs Are Swinging

Put a bat in the hands of anyone on Stevenson softball right now and send them to the plate, and they will do significant damage.

Since their spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Mustangs as a team have been swinging the bats very well, batting .296 with a .384 slugging percentage and a .717 on-base plus slugging percentage. Their offensive potential was on full display this past Monday, Opening Day. Both games of their doubleheader sweep of Hood College were high scoring — 14-12 and 10-8.

Infielder McKenzie Tolber cranked her first career home run on Monday at Hood. Photo: Sabina Moran

Senior infielder McKenzie Tobler helped lead the offensive charge with a 6-for-8 day that included a home run in Game 2. Junior outfielder Rebecca Henry went 4-for-9 on the day, scoring 4 runs and driving in 3. Senior infielders Danielle Mills and Rebecca Maiorano combined for 10 hits and 7 RBI on the day.

For Tobler, the home run was extra special. It was her first collegiate home run, certainly a moment that she will never forget and a personal boost as she enters the weekend as one of the team’s hottest hitters in the box. She describes the moment as an “awesome feeling.”

“I may have sprinted around the bases a little too fast due to my overwhelming excitement, but I am happy I was able to put that run on the board,” Tobler said. “I have been really working on my approach and making sure I am getting the pitches I want. This double header my timing started to click.”

Each game was a back-and-forth battle, competition that was determined by who had the last laugh with the bat. These two conference wins serve as a confidence boost for this young Stevenson softball team, according to Tobler.

“Starting off the season with two conference wins is great feeling,” Tobler said. “Although they were high scoring games, every pitch was a battle. It was a constant back and forth match up and we fought until the end and lucky came out on top.”

Henry described the victories as exhilarating, though she too acknowledges the back-and-forth battle that each game was.

“These were two well-fought games on both sides of the ball for both opponents,” Henry said. She added that the Mustangs are looking to be the “team to beat” this season, making these two conference wins even more important early on in the new year.

In Game 2, the Mustangs were on the attack right out of the gate as they scored 4 runs in the first inning against Hood. Henry says that the ability to get ahead early gave them an early chance, one that they made sure they ran away with.

“Our ability to manufacture runs early in the game and remain persistent was crucial during this series,” Henry said.

Needless to say, the offense has done its part for the team. This is a young lineup with a ton of new faces. However, Tobler has been impressed with what everyone, one through nine, has been able to accomplish with their approaches at the plate.

“We have many people stepping up in big spots,” Tobler said. “This year we have a brand-new lineup with many younger faces. They have showed a very mature approach at the plate. They are taking pitches, coming up in clutch spots with RBIs, and looking confident. We are beginning to gel and figuring out how to get the offense going.”

Outfielder Rebecca Henry has seen the offense come together as a result of a great team chemistry. Photo: Sabina Moran

Henry agrees with Tobler.

“Our offensive potential this season can be attributed to our team chemistry,” Henry said. “We have gelled well as a team, and this shows on the field. Most of our runs are manufactured by a sequence of sacrifice flies and bunts, having unselfish at-bats to benefit the team. This demonstrates the team mindset needed to succeed, and we certainly have it.”

Hood came out swinging, too, making Stevenson work for their victories. This back-and-forth memo is a familiar atmosphere in the Middle-Atlantic Conference. This is a hitter-friendly league, and teams are always duking it out with the bats.

The Mustangs’ offense is ready to do battle with the rest of the offenses in the league, they will be stepping into the batter’s box with laser focus.

“We cannot take a pitch off because other teams will capitalize on your mistakes,” Tobler said.

As much as offense has become a huge part of the Mustangs’ game, Henry cannot neglect the job that the pitching staff has done early in the season.

“I am confident our pitching staff will allow us to succeed during these matchups,” Henry said. “As we lost some key members [Jill Haines and Marissa Heuer] of the bullpen this past year, our pitchers were given the chance to rise to the occasion, and they certainly did. Fifth-year Lindsey Tolle, junior Grace Briggs, sophomore Kyla Vaughn, and freshman Molly Parker are doing great work in the circle, and I am confident in their abilities to produce some wins for us this season.”

The offense is live, and this Mustangs team is dialed in. There are high expectations within this team as the season moves along quick, but they are looking forward to the competition ahead as well as the next opportunity to grab a bat and start swinging again.

“All of our opponents are talented, but so are we. So, [all] the series this season should be fun!” Tobler said.

Conference play resumes for the sweet-swinging Mustangs (5-5) tomorrow. The originally scheduled home doubleheader versus Widener University (4-6) for today has been pushed back to tomorrow. First pitch at Owings Mills East is 1 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Grant DeVivo, Sports Editor
Grant is a senior from Westminster, Maryland. He has served as the Villager's sports editor since 2022-23 after being on staff in 2021-22. He attended Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore before coming to Stevenson. He has internship experience with both Glenn Clark Radio and the Baltimore Orioles. He also plays catcher and third base for the Stevenson Mustang club baseball team.
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