After a season of hovering around .500 with a 24-23 record in the 2021 season, Mercer softball is back and hoping to improve on their previous outing.
The Bears played in the Joanne Graf invitational and finished with a 1-5 record. Their first game was on Feb. 11 against Loyola University Chicago, who they would play a total of three times during the invitational.
Mercer came out on fire with Diamond Williams hitting a home run into left field, driving in herself and Rebeca Laudino for a two run lead in the first. Mercer didn't let up, scoring again off of an error by the Ramblers' second baseman followed by a two RBI double off the bat of Adele Braun. The Bears led 5-0 in the bottom of the second.
Mercer wouldn't score again for the remainder of the game, though, and the Ramblers scored five straight runs unanswered. In extra innings, the Ramblers' Amelia Thomas hit a triple to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Haley Wallace to put Loyola up 6-5 to win the game in the 10th inning.
The Bears moved on to play Florida State University later on Feb. 11 and got hammered 12-0. Mercer gave up all 12 runs in the first four innings, leading to a mercy-ruled game since the Bears couldn't get any points on the board after the fifth inning.
Feb. 12 saw the Bears get another crack at Loyola Chicago but the result was the same, this time with a 4-2 loss. The Ramblers scored four points unanswered starting in the 2nd inning and ending in the 5th. The Bears made a small run in the sixth inning with Madison Headly and Williams both batting in scores, but the Bears couldn't add anything more and fell.
In their next game of the day, Mercer lost again to Kennesaw State University. The game looked competitive at first, with KSU scoring two in the first inning but Mercer answering with three in the top of the second. Headly and Laudino were responsible for two runs while Alyssa Woods reached thanks to an error. Down 3-2, the Owls took over at the bottom of the second when they tied the game at 3-3 off of a home run from Kiere Cooper. That hit opened the flood gates as the Owls scored in the third and seventh innings, combining for nine runs and a 12-3 win for KSU.
On Feb. 13, the Bears played the Ramblers for the third and final time of the invitational. This time Mercer came out on top in a 4-3 game. The Bears went up 2-0 in the first with Tori Hedgecock and Kenlie Harvey both batting in runs. Loyola answered in the second off the bat of Teagen Sopcazk who scored two runners to tie the game 2-2. Rachel Baker scored in the bottom of the second to put the Bears up 3-2. The score held the same until the Ramblers Ava Bieneman scored off an error to tie it 3-3. Neither team scored until the fifth inning where Elisa Rosado scored on a bases-loaded walk. The Bears held firm and won the game 4-3.
For the last game of the invitational Feb. 15, the Bears took on Georgia Technical College. They were unceremoniously taken down at the end of the invitational 9-1 by the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech scored in the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings while the Bears managed a lone score in the fifth from a Hedgecock RBI single.
The Bears will move on to the JU/UNF Invitational on Feb. 18 with the hopes of reversing the course of the 2022 season.
Keith Holmes Jr. ‘22 is a journalism and creative writing double major who has worked with The Cluster as general staff since his Sophomore year. Keith has received Best in SNO awards for his sports articles along with years of work at Mercer’s ESPN3 branch. Keith spends his free time playing video games and writing fiction around campus.