Softball: Bow snaps two-game skid with win over Sanborn

  • Bow pitcher Hannah McGonigle delivers a pitch against Sanborn on the way to the Falcons’ 5-1 Division III softball win on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Bow first baseman Emma Kelly slides safely into third base during the fourth inning of Wednesday’s win over Sanborn. Kelly went on to score a run on an overthrow. GEOFF FORESTER— / Monitor staff

 Monitor staff
Published: 5/12/2022 3:45:02 PM

Hannah McGonigle, with an ease and a swagger, gave herself the slightest fist pump as she stepped out of the circle.

The junior pitcher secured her 10th strikeout of the game. The other nine before it were sweet, but this one was savory as it ended a two-game Bow softball losing streak and secured its 5-1 win over Sanborn.

It’s been an uphill battle for the Falcons this season, but on Wednesday they got to let loose and showcased the climb they’ve made this season. It’s a team that has only 13 players on the roster, and a majority of those 13 are in different positions than last season. While learning new spots, they’re learning from a new coach, as Jen Boyden is 10 games through her first season running the program.

There have been some tough moments, but also moments where the education of a new coach and previous situational experience has paid off. In the first four innings against Sanborn, the Falcons only allowed one hit, caught difficult pop flies on a sunny day and turned a double play. It was the error-free defense that afforded Bow the opportunity to continually stretch its at-bats.

It paid off in the bottom of the fourth inning: McGonigle blasted a ball deep into left field for a double and stole third on a hit from Lilly Wright. Kelly Harris broke the zeroes displayed on the scoreboard with an RBI single and, two batters later, Lauren Oppold’s hit to right field caused a couple of errors that led to two more runs and a quick 3-0 lead.

But the Falcons weren’t done yet. Oppold eventually reached home herself after a hit from Caly Poitras, and the inning ended with Bow commanding the scoreboard.

“We really did the job we set out to do,” Boyden said. “We made the plays we could, didn’t let a hit get to extra bases, got the strikeouts where we needed and offensively a bit of a late start, but we got the plays when we needed them.”

Boyden has overseen the reset for the Falcons’ program this season. She was an assistant coach last year but took over the head position, and it’s been a slow but rewarding journey teaching the game to a small, dedicated roster.

Her rebuild started by focusing on both the fundamentals of the game to eliminate as many errors as possible and approaching the game from a mental perspective through creating game-like scenarios in practice, so the team can see potential situations and know what to do once the moment arrives.

While it took a few games to set in – the Falcons started the season with four consecutive losses – Bow has won four of its last six games.

“The first two weeks of the season, we were really moving people around to figure out where the best spots are for them, and I think it’s starting to click,” Boyden said. “It’s not just making the plays, it’s also the chemistry and communication piece.”

There aren’t talks of championships yet, just the conversation of becoming a program the Falcons know they can be. And a strong, error-free game like the one they played on Wednesday is a step in the right direction. 

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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