By. Liam Gambon
Asst. Sports Editor
By. Carlos Silva
Framingham’s April 19 doubleheader against Bridgewater State resulted in a split.
The second game gave the Rams their 18th win of the year – and it was a crucial one at that.
Pitcher Kelsi Gunarathne said, “It was an important game to win in order to secure the conference regular season champs.”
The Rams also secured their 11th conference win and clinched the one-seed for the playoffs.
But the win went beyond that.
Head Coach Lawrence Miller walked away with his hundreth career win.
“The entire team was very excited for him,” Gunarathne said. “The seniors and juniors have been there for most of the wins and have seen how much he has grown as a coach.”
Outfielder Kaylea Sherman said, “It feels awesome. Coach really deserves this.”
She added, “He puts everything he has into this team and he makes us better every day. We really appreciate him.”
The first game of the doubleheader was a one-sided beatdown as the Bridgewater State Bears won 6-1.
The Rams only had three hits in the game – one resulting in an inside-the-park home run by Mycala Moody.
The home run was the only source of production for the Rams all game as they struggled to get anything going.
Twenty minutes after the loss, the Rams took the field again for the second game.
This time they fell behind again, losing 2-0 in the second inning.
But Framingham wasted no time starting a comeback as they got two runners on base in the bottom of the second with no outs.
Sherman then knocked in both runners with a single, tying the game at 2-2.
After settling herself on first base, Sherman received a roaring ovation from her teammates in the dugout.
The Framingham dugout was not just making noise for this play – they made noise all game long.
Gunarathne said, “We believe in always picking each other up and cheering one another on, because we want everyone to do great.”
She added, “We love pushing each other, and cheering is our way of bringing up people’s spirits and showing our support.”
Sherman’s game-tying hit changed the atmosphere of the game, as the Rams brought the energy for the rest of the matchup.
Sherman said, “It felt awesome to be able to step up for my team.”
She added, “This team really focuses on picking each other up when some of us are down. I was just trying to pick my teammates up.”
Sherman did not stop there when it came to stepping up for her team.
She went on to make an incredible sliding catch in the outfield and knocked in the go-ahead run for the Rams in the fifth inning.
After the run scored and Sherman crossed first base, she struggled to walk back to first as she was clearly in pain.
“I hit the inside of the base weird and rolled my ankle, but I knew I needed to stay in for my team, so I got taped up and I was ready to go,” Sherman said. “I knew my teammates were there to back me up through the rest of the game.”
Her teammates did back her up as both Grace Caughey and Farrah Adam knocked in runs the following inning to make the game 6-2 Framingham.
Gunarathne, who came in during the third inning to pitch in relief, was responsible for shutting out Bridgewater until the final inning, when they scored a single run.
Following a game in which she allowed six runs, Gunarathne and the entire team bounced back in a big way to secure a 6-3 victory.
Gunarathne said, “Softball is such a funny game that you can lose to teams you shouldn’t lose to and beat teams that you shouldn’t beat.”
She added, “That was a team we knew we were better than and we came to play the second game after getting a reality check the first game.”
Eight of the 10 Framingham batters who stepped up to the plate in the game recorded a hit, and each of the six runs came from different players.
Sherman said, “Every single person on our team, either on the bench or on the field, is always able to help to produce the wins.”
She added,“Our lineup is strong 1 through 9. Everyone gets up to bat and just tries to get the job done. Every game, we go out there and just try to have tons of fun and just play the game we love.”
The Rams put up a strong showing against powerhouse Brandeis April 23.
Brandeis is currently ranked No. 21 in the country for Division III college softball. They are currently rocking a 26-2-1 record on the season.
Coach Lawrence Miller discussed the Rams’ tough late-season matchups. He said, “We have probably played the three best teams we’ve played since Florida in those six games – Babson being regionally ranked in the top five, Brandeis being nationally ranked top 25, Bridgewater being ranked second in the conference behind us right now.”
He added, “We are playing good teams. We schedule tough to prepare us for the conference championship and the conference tournament. We hope those losses help us become better and readier.”
The Rams’ strongest performance came in the first game with a close 3-1 loss to Brandeis.
Brandeis was able to overcome the Rams’ usually strong offense thanks to an impressive 10-strikeout performance from Brandeis’ ace pitcher Scottie Todd. She improved to a 12-2 record for the season.
On the defensive side, the Rams had a rare bad performance from ace pitcher Gunarathne as she was only able to muster two strikeouts in six innings of play.
In the first inning, the Rams made the score 1-0 after a groundout from Caughey brought in Camille Desrochers for the Rams’ only run of the game.
Brandeis was quick to answer after Sydney Goldman singled to right field and brought in Jolie Fujita for the tying run.
Later on, in the fifth inning, Marley Felder doubled to left center to bring in two runs to reach the game’s final score, a 3-1 Brandeis victory.
The second matchup was more of a runaway game for Brandeis, as they won 5-1.
In the first inning, the Rams were once again first to score. Lauren Salisbury singled through the left side of the field and allowed Desrochers to score the first – and, once again, only – run of the game for the Rams.
In the bottom of the first inning, Brandeis quickly answered, but this time, it was Todd who reached first base on a throwing error, which led to Felder scoring and tying up the ball game.
Brandeis never looked back. They continued to score throughout the later innings and went on to win 5-1.
Miller said, “We continued to have mental mishaps and Brandeis took full advantage of it. That is what good teams do.”
He added, “I think for us, we have to execute on what we try to do and not do too much and just get back to winning games.”
The Rams are currently 11-1 in the MASCAC and 19-17 overall in the season.