Gannon rallies past Boro in PSAC opener


It was no surprise that the Gannon University softball team got off to a cold start in both games of its doubleheader against Edinboro University at Gannon University Field Tuesday – given the game time temperature felt like 24 degrees.

But the Knights were able to heat up and sweep the pair of contests, 12-4 and 3-1.

It was the first time Gannon had taken the field since a breezy 55-degree spring training game loss to St. Anselm College, 9-4, in Clermont, Fla., on March 7.

The wins over the Fighting Scots helped the Knights open their PSAC regular season with a 2-0 conference record after four scheduled doubleheaders were postponed due to inclement weather.

Sophomore pitcher Olivia Gumbita said the 17-day hiatus without playing any games made it difficult to get off to the start she had hoped to. Gumbita allowed Taylor Payne to hit a grand slam over the left field wall in the first inning to give the Fighting Scots a 4-0 lead.

The Knights responded by scoring 12 consecutive runs, which ended the game in the fifth inning due to an eight-run advantage. Gannon’s junior catcher, Alyssa Bates, led the charge by blasting a grand slam of her own in the fifth inning and finished the game with six RBIs.

Gumbita said that she loved her run support, which let her get back into the game. She bounced back and didn’t allow another run after the first inning.

“In the first game everyone was getting back into things, but now that we got this first one under our belt I feel a lot better about it,” Gumbita said.

Coach Tom Jakubowski said that his team was a little rusty at the beginning of the game before a strong offensive surge, coupled with Gumbita settling in and hitting her spots.

“We played one bad inning, and it’s probably because we haven’t played in a while,” he said. “Olivia didn’t have great control in the first inning and we misplayed a pop up, but after that inning I think we played lights out in the first game.”

In the second game, Gannon similarly fell behind, 1-0, in the second inning when senior pitcher Jess Rectenwald allowed Edinboro to score its lone run of the game.

Rectenwald tied the game with an RBI in the third inning, and Bates sealed the 3-1 win with a two-run single.

Jakubowski said that he was very pleased with his team’s performance despite injuries and poor weather conditions it had to face.

“We have so many people hurt and we barely have enough people to play the game,” he said.

Along with battling through injuries, the Knights’ lack of time practicing on their field made Tuesday’s wins that much more impressive.

“It stinks because we couldn’t practice,” Jakubowski said. “We were out here for a few ground balls when the lacrosse team was getting ready to play just to get them out here. And that’s the only time we’ve actually been able to play on our field. The nice thing is that the turf inside is the same composition as this surface so that helps us out a lot.”

Rectanwald said the poor weather and injuries have made it tough to recreate in-game pitching and hitting scenarios.

“If we have nine players on the field and our pitchers and catchers throwing then we only have two extra players,” she said. “So it’s difficult to work on situations.”

Jakubowski said that his team’s resilience – given the challenging start to the PSAC season – has made this team special.

“I’ve never been more proud of a team in my 40 years of coaching than these girls,” he said, “because these girls just don’t know how to quit.”


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