The greatest regular season in West Chester women’s softball history came to an end this week. After recording the most wins in the history of the program, 31, the Lady Rams fell just shy of the PSAC playoffs, missing it by only one game. The 31 wins were well beyond the entire season total of 19 achieved last year. The 12 win improvement for head coach Diane Lokey’s squad is something to build upon, even following a rough final week. However, all six games came against two of the three PSAC East playoff teams.
One bright note for the week was that while they were unable to reach the postseason, the team did manage to play spoiler and knock Shippensburg out of the playoffs.
The week began on Tuesday as the team played host to Shippensburg and the ladies swept the doubleheader. Game one was a 7-6 final as team pitching ace Shannon Padula was the pitcher of record as she improved her record to 22-8 on the year. Padula was able to steal the win from starter Ashley Saussaman, despite only pitching the final two-thirds of the game while giving up a run on one hit.
Saussaman, who pitched the first 5.1 innings of the game, gave up five runs on nine hits. Centerfielder Tara Colantuono swung a big stick from the leadoff spot going 4-4 with three runs and two RBIs, including a homerun. Game two was another one-run victory for the Lady Rams, 2-1. In the game, Padula pitched a complete game, seven inning, one run effort. Designated hitter Jamie McComb and second baseman Jackie DiPaola knocked in the runs for West Chester.
After the doubleheader sweep at home, the final four games were not so kind to the team against the top two PSAC East teams. Bloomsburg, the second seed, swept the double header on their home field, beating West Chester 6-1 in the first game. Starting pitcher Ashley Saussaman, who suffered the loss, went only 1.1 innings, giving up five hits and four runs (one earned).
Finishing the game on the mound was Brittany Rees who pitched the final 4.2 innings, giving up only two runs on eight hits. McComb knocked in the only West Chester run of the day while going 2-3 at the plate. Game two went to the Lady Huskies in five innings as they beat the Lady Rams 8-0. Padula pitched the entire game. First baseman Meghan Harbaugh, Padula, and DiPaola mustered the only hits for the Lady Rams in the nightcap.
The final double-header of the season was at home against top-seeded Kutztown who flexed their muscles against West Chester. The first game was a 4-2 victory for Kutztown in a nine inning thriller. Padula took the loss while pitching a complete game giving up 19 hits and all four runs. Catcher Alisha DiMarzio hit a two-run double to right field in the second inning and they were the only West Chester runs scored on the day.
The final game of the season was a 6-0 Lady Golden Bears win over the Lady Rams. Padula and Rees were unable to get any support as the Lady Rams offensive attack was held in check by the Kutztown pitching staff. Padula suffered the loss to end the season with a stellar 23-11 record.
The Lady Rams ended the season with a 31-20 overall record and much improved 10-14 conference record. Padula led the team in wins with 23, threw for over 200 innings and over 100 strikeouts.
Harbaugh led the squad in many offensive categories as she was the major driving force behind the Lady Rams offensive assault. The Lady Rams will look to improve on this season with a trip to the playoffs one year from now, during the 2009 season. In all, the season was nothing short of a success as the team surprised many people around the campus and the PSAC.
Mike Heiman is a third-year student majoring in elementary education with a minor in literacy. He can be reached at MH606613@wcupa.edu.