This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sean Hurd.
Calling Wednesday’s game a nail-biter just doesn’t quite do it justice.
Riding the momentum of a school record six-game winning streak, the Colonials (11-12) fell on the wrong side of a walk-off win Wednesday night against Virginia, losing the game in 10 innings by a score of 2-1.
“The game could have gone either way tonight,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “The effort that my team put forward was absolutely incredible.”
Going into Charlottesville to face an ACC team like Virginia is no easy task, but Schramm reassured her players before the game that their level of plate of late should not be taken lightly.
“I said that we can really play with anyone at this point, and I really believe that,” Schramm said. “It doesn’t matter who our opponent is, or whether we are playing on our field or someone else’s. The way we’re playing right now is solid, and can be against anyone.”
Unfortunately, Schramm’s pregame pep talk wasn’t enough to ignite the Colonials’ offense. The team struggled against a dominant performance from Virginia starting pitcher Melanie Mitchell. who went eight innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out a whopping sixteen Colonial batters.
It was a performance that Schramm predicted before the start of the game.
“Going into the game I really knew it was going to be a pitcher’s duel and that one swing might be the difference, and in the end, it was,” Schramm said.
The hit came off of the bat of Virginia sophomore Megan Harris, who lined a single down the left field line off of Colonials pitcher Courtney Martin, scoring the Virginia runner on third and cementing the win for the Cavaliers (12-12).
Although tacked with a loss, Martin (5-7) put on a clinic of her own during Wednesday’s pitching contest. She went the distance, going nine innings, giving up two runs on ten hits, while striking out 10.
When asked about the idea of relieving Martin instead of having her pitch a complete game, Schramm said she felt it was unnecessary given the quality of pitching from Martin as well as well as her change-up oriented pitch type.
“She throws about 90 percent change-ups,” Schramm said. “So it wasn’t like she was getting worn out, she was effective the entire game. It just happened to be that, that inning Virginia strung a couple of hits together.”
While the loss ended the Colonials’ six-game winning streak, Schramm said that to her coaching staff and her team, the winning streak was insignificant.
“It’s awesome that we set records, and that’s great, but a six-game winning streak is not something we are proud of,” said Schramm. “We want to set much longer win streaks than six. It’s great and I’m glad people are making somewhat of a big deal about it, but really for my team it’s not a big deal. What we are looking for is a consistent level of play.”
Schramm describes her team’s play over the course of the past 10 games to be “consistently strong,” and much of that, according to the coach, is credited to the work the Colonials have been putting on in the batting cage, and an increased effort from the players.
“We spent a lot of time in the gym, videotaping them, and analyzing their swings and breaking them down,” Schramm said. “Now they don’t just go through the routine. When they take batting practice, they have a purpose. Before they would just go up there and take some [swings], but there was no effort as far as making the adjustments involved, and now there is. We are just hitting the crap out of the ball.”
One of the big standout for the Colonials during their recent success has been freshman standout Carly Gray. Gray who, was just awarded A-10 rookie of the week this past Tuesday, has been a key contributor to GW’s offensive success.
“She’s been our most consistent hitter from the start and up to this point,” Schramm said. “She goes up to the plate and is just fearless. Nothing shakes her, she’s very calm, composed, and confident. It doesn’t even matter that she’s a freshman, she’s a pure leader on our team.”
Like every coach, Schramm believes that a team always has something they can improve, and for her squad she says it’s the mental errors.
“Sometimes it’s the mental mistakes during the games that drives me nuts,” she said. “It’s something that’s so simple and in our control. That would be my one complaint.”
Looking forward, the Colonials are confident in their play after winning eight of their last 10 games, and it shows on the field.
But they’re not settling for their current success, Schramm adds.
“We’re not just saying okay, we’re there, we’re done,” Schramm said. “We are continuing to do what got us here, everyday. We’re making sure we’re continuing to grind and work, and get better everyday.”