Bates’ softball team concluded its six-game trip to Florida this weekend, winning three of the first four games, defeating Lesley College, Westfield State, and Becker College before dropping the last two to UMass- Boston and Bethany College.

Bates began the trip with a thrilling ten-inning victory over Lesley College, with sophomore pitcher Brenna Callahan earning the win by pitching six scoreless innings in relief of sophomore Kelsey Freeman. Bates’ offensive firepower was provided by senior catcher AnnaMarie Martino, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, and senior infielder and co-captain Mary Lewis, who batted an impressive 3-for-5 including two stolen bases. Senior Caroline Gattuso added two RBI’s and a triple on two hits, and first-year utility player Molly Brown scored two runs for Bates, including the game-winner.

After seven innings of play, the score was tied at 5 runs apiece, and in the tenth inning junior co-captain Alayna Garbarino hammered a ball into the outfield for a double, driving in Brown for the game-winning run.

After dropping a close game to a tough Salve Regina team 4-3 despite Gattuso pitching a gem, Bates went on to take the next two games from Westfield and Becker.

Against Westfield, the Bobcats pulled off a dramatic come from behind victory after trailing 3-1. Callahan and Freedman combined to completely shut down Westfield after the three early runs, and Bates managed a rally in the seventh and final inning.

With the bases loaded, Westfield ran into the heart of the Bobcats’ lineup, as Garbarino hit an RBI single to close the gap to 3-2. With two outs and the game on the line, Gattuso hit a 2-RBI double, scoring Lewis and Freedman for the win.

Bates would need no more late-game heroics in their victory over Becker, as Freedman and Gattuso combined for a shutout, including eight total strikeouts, and the Bobcats won 2-0. Bates’ two runs came from a Molly Brown single and first-year outfielder Karen Lockhart’s sacrifice fly.

Although the team lost its final two games, 9-3 to Bethany and 6-2 to UMass-Boston, the team is extremely encouraged by its overall performance.

“The team, overall, is pretty proud of what we accomplished in Florida,” explained Lewis. “However, we will always strive to be the best as we look forward to the remaining games of the season. As these were not only our first games of the season but the first days on an actual softball field for the year, we will expand upon the foundation we have built from this experience to better ourselves each and every day.”

Garbarino would echo this sentiment, adding, “I was very impressed with everyone›s performances in Florida. We are a young team and gave very strong competition in every game. I am very excited for the rest of the season because I know that we are going to just keep getting better the more we play. Everyone contributed in the field and at the plate in every game. From the six games down there we learned what to focus on at practices this week in order to go out and get two wins at Maine Maritime this weekend.”

After graduating nine of fourteen players from last year’s team, Bates will sport a much different-looking softball team this year. However, despite the youth-movement on the team, the Bobcats will employ a deep and talented pitching staff headlined by Gattuso, who returns after a year away from Bates. Bates also returns sophomore pitchers Callahan and Freedman, who had earned run averages of 3.09 and 4.58, respectively last season.

Lewis emphasized the importance of a cohesive, focused effort in her post-trip comments, “One of the team›s greatest strengths is the contribution of each player throughout the entire game every single game, we had contributions from each position both in the field and at bat. This will definitely help us as we approach the beginning of the NESCAC schedule. As we continue to work hard and push ourselves to the next level, we will continue to compete with who we were yesterday to better ourselves today.”

Bates will next travel to play Maine Maritime on Saturday before opening NESCAC play at Tufts next weekend