Pipers cap season with a playoff win

Improved team can hold their heads high after nearly doubling last year’s win total.

Gino Terrell, Reporter

Even with this spring’s unfavorable weather conditions for softball, the Pipers accomplished a winning season as they finished 18-16, including a playoff win.

Head coach James Rubbelke felt good about his team heading into the 2013 season.

“It’s probably been the best February practices I’ve had since I’ve been here,” he said. “Their commitment level is pretty high…they know they can be a pretty good team.”

This team has overcome several obstacles throughout the season. They opened their season in California, where they competed against teams that were in mid-season form at the start of theirs.

The weather situation this spring caused them to postpone a few games, which resulted in compiling games toward the end of the season. Fortunately for the Pipers, they didn’t let any of those challenges stand in their way, as they concluded the regular season at 17-15.

Last Friday, the Pipers competed in the MIAC Softball Playoffs at Caswell Park in Mankato, Minn. On a cloudy and windy 37 degree evening, they faced Concordia in game one of the first round. The Pipers opened the game with bats blazing as they scored two two-run homers hit by first-year Jaime Rubbelke and sophomore Cecily Abbadessa, putting them up 4-0 in the first inning.

Junior pitcher Brianna Vela took care of business on the mound and picked up her 12th win this season as the Pipers prevailed with an 11-3 victory. However, they had no time to celebrate because 30 minutes later they had one more game that night against St. Olaf; the winner of that match would move on to the second round the next day.

St. Olaf was casted as the home team and came out on mad juice, as they batted in six runs in the first inning; they were up 6-0. In the third, the Pipers got on the board as senior Bethany Hine scored on a ground out by junior Lauren Turitto.

At the start of the fifth inning, the Pipers sent a message to St. Olaf that suggested they didn’t want to go home just yet; they rallied and scored five runs to tie the game.

With bases loaded, Abbadessa hit a single to left field to bring senior Laura Randall and Jamie to home plate.

Sophomore Samantha Mau’s hit brought first-year Stephanie Borndale in for a score. Sophomore Jenna Dunshaw’s two-RBI hit brought junior Lauren Clouston and Abbadessa to score; the game was knotted up at six going into the bottom of the fifth inning.

St. Olaf came back at the bottom of the fifth and scored three runs, reclaiming the lead at 9-6.

As the Pipers had done all season, they showed resilience and chose not to lie down in the sixth inning.

Again with the bases loaded, Abbadessa was at the plate. This time she was walked, which brought Randall in for a score, 9-7. Clouston then came to the plate and hit a two-RBI double that allowed Turitto and Jamie to score, once again the game was tied, 9-9.

The Pipers managed to keep St. Olaf off the board in the bottom of the sixth. Unfortunately for the Pipers, they weren’t able to get a run scored in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, St. Olaf hit a sacrifice fly that scored a runner to end the game at 10-9.

The two hour battle was over, and the Pipers season was over. Just as the Pipers played with resilience through a season, they went out as a team with resilience in a game where they overcame an early deficit under horrible softball weather conditions. They continued to compete until the scoreboard switch to 10 for St. Olaf in the final inning.

Jim expressed before the season that this was a team that was committed and looking to be successful this 2013 season.

“They’ve done a good job of establishing themselves as wanting to do well this year,” he said.

The Pipers have certainly proved it.