Rowan Softball Secures NJAC Top-Seed on Senior Day

Emily August mid-pitch. August pitched a full game with only one hit on her Senior Day. Wednesday, April 20, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

As Rowan softball’s senior left fielder, Morgan Zane, celebrated the team’s Senior Day and Pride Day on Saturday, April 30, when they took on New Jersey City University (NJCU) in a doubleheader, she reflected on her time representing the brown and gold.

“The one word that I can think of is family,” Zane said. “As soon as I came to Rowan it’s been nothing but support and love and just a family atmosphere. There’s never been a day that I’ve been upset being at softball or didn’t want to come. Just because I know when I come here, it’s always a nice day in Glassboro.” 

The No. 21 ranked Profs defeated the Gothic Knights 3-0 in the opening game and 8-0 (six innings) in game number two. 

Game number one was spearheaded by Rowan’s senior ace Emily August and freshman second baseman Liz McCaffery.

The Profs got all of their run support in the first inning, with two outs McCaffery had a two-RBI triple and eventually scored off of a passed ball to give Rowan the 3-0 lead. 

The three-run boost was all the Profs needed to secure the victory, as New Jersey Athletic Conference’s (NJAC) best pitcher, August, spun a gem on the mound. 

August pitched in her 12th complete game of the year and picked up her 16th win on the season. She had a perfect game broken up in the sixth inning but still managed to only give up one hit while striking out ten. August discusses what pitches were working for her during her start. 

“I was throwing my curve a lot,” August said. “I was getting a lot of swings and misses so we kept going with that.” 

The Profs totaled five hits in their victory, with two coming from shortstop Payton MacNair, while Zane, McCaffery and designated player Cat Thomas each chipped in with one. 

“We drove the ball pretty well, we were able to run some and I thought our defensive pitching was fantastic,” Head Coach Kim Wilson said.

In game number two, the Profs relied on scoring from the first inning to give them a sizable lead. 

With freshman center fielder McKenzie Melvin leading off, she bunted for a hit and stole second and third to put herself in prime scoring position. Zane eventually stepped up to the plate and knocked in a run to make the game 1-0. Later that inning with the bases loaded, senior catcher Korie Hague lined a shot into center field making the game 3-0. 

“So I’ve been struggling lately, so I’ve been telling myself ‘stay loose, see the ball, hit the ball’ and it finally came through and it felt good,” Hague said. 

On a double steal, Hague swiped second while McCaffery grabbed home to end the scoring in the first inning at 4-0. 

Freshman Rylee Lutz got the start in the circle, where another impressive performance earned her 12th win of the season. She struck out eight and gave up five hits in six innings of work.

“They both did extremely well. They were both hitting their spots, working inside and outside, staying confident and they kept us in the game both games. Very good job on both of their parts,” Hague said. 

Lutz’s ability to get out of trouble, propelled by the strong defense, was also a main factor in game two. 

“I think they both kept the hitters off-balance. Even when they got a couple of people on, they just took care of it and got what we needed, a ground ball, a pop-up, a whatever it was,” Coach Wilson said. “It’s great to have a senior out there and then a freshman that’s learning how to have composure and fight through some things that might not be going your way.”

The Profs added two more hits in the bottom of the fourth, one in the fifth and eventually ended the game with a four run in the sixth inning to solidify the win. 

After back-to-back singles from first baseman Devyn DiPasquale and right fielder Grace Shukaitis, Melvin drove in a run for her third hit of the day. MacNair grabbed her first RBI of the contest, making the game 6-0. Zane then stepped up to the plate and ended the game 8-0 with a base knock to the left side, grabbing two RBIs. 

Zane, who finished 2-4 with three RBIs talks about her approach at the plate during Senior Day. 

“Honestly I was just going into today just planning on having as much fun with my teammates as possible,” Zane said. “Just trying to be relaxed and not pressuring myself too much.” 

Hague also reflects on Senior day and what the program has meant to her. 

“It’s priceless,” Hauge said. “I love all these girls, I love all the coaches. It’s very bittersweet, they mean a lot to me, they’re like family.” 

With the pair of victories, the Profs secured the number one seed in the NJAC heading into the Softball Championship. They will face the number six-ranked Montclair State University on Tuesday, May 3.

At the end of the second game, the program honored Zane, August, Hague, Rebecca Lombardo and Kelly Duffy, a graduate of the 2021 team. The seniors will have one more shot at the championship as Coach Wilson is hoping they will leave an impact on their younger teammates.

“I’m proud of them, they all come from different backgrounds, but we all become family and you can just see the love that they have for each other and this program, they’re just authentic human beings,” Coach Wilson said. “They are who we want our young kids to become and so I hope they leave a legacy that our younger kids [can look up to].” 

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