After a slow start to the Spring Games, Maryland softball resilience turned the script around

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The start of the season for Maryland softball was anything but easy.

The Terps began their 2022 campaign with a narrow loss to No. 18 Tennessee, followed by a comfortable win over Florida International. They split their next two games against UNC Greensboro.

After just one weekend of play, Maryland has already had its ups and downs and game-after-game inconsistencies.

Last weekend, things got off to a bad start.

Maryland started the Spring Games tournament with three straight losses, including a mercy loss to No. 24 Liberty. Coach Mark Montgomery said his team “didn’t bounce back from Stetson” and added that the team’s failure to bounce back is rare. The Terps also struggled in the following match against FAU.

But, they responded in their next two games with a vengeance.

Maryland’s offense had its best game of the season so far against Bethune-Cookman, hitting season highs in runs (11), hits (12), doubles (3) and stolen bases (6) .

On Sunday, the Terps faced a tough opponent in No. 17 Missouri. Montgomery rotated between a trio of pitchers — Trinity Schlotterbeck, Courtney Wyche and Haley Ellefson — to find the best game possible at every innings.

Montgomery’s strategy worked and the Tigers didn’t score a single run. However, Maryland’s offense struggled. The Terps went without a hit in five innings and couldn’t capitalize on Jaeda McFarland’s single in the sixth period.

[Taylor Ligouri hits walk-off, Maryland softball upsets No. 17 Missouri, 1-0]

The Terps came to bat in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to put their woes behind them.

Maryland had help from the Missouri defense, as Mackense Greico hit an error in the top of the inning and advanced to second on the pitch. Kamryn Davis entered as a pinch runner and moved up to third on a bunt, setting the winning run just 60 feet from home with just one out.

Taylor Liguori entered the batter’s box as a pinch hitter and lined up a single into left field to score Davis and win the game for the Terps in walk-off mode.

After a rocky start to the weekend for the Terps, they responded with resilience to end the weekend on a bright note with an upset win over No. 17 Missouri.

“Resilience is one of our core values, so I think this team is learning,” Montgomery said. “We didn’t play well at all on the first day, then we turned around and even lost the bad luck game… against FAU which could have gone either way, but we ended up losing.”

Not only did the Terps show resilience between games, they showed resilience in each game itself.

Against Missouri, Maryland had to recover from tough breaks that didn’t happen countless times.

Starting early in the fourth, the Tigers had a chance to score first as they had two runners with just one out. Montgomery went to Wyche in a tight spot – looking to get the last two outs of the inning without giving up a run – and she did just that to keep the game scoreless.

[Maryland softball loses to FAU, beats Bethune-Cookman by mercy-rule]

Missouri’s first batter reached base on a walk in the sixth, but a perfect pitch from Kiley Goff behind the flat caught Maddie Snider trying to steal second. But Wyche walked the next batter and Schlotterbeck returned to the mound and knocked the Terps out of the inning without dropping a run.

“We just took these little things that the coaches were telling us, and eventually put it all together, and that’s where the success finally started to happen,” Schlotterbeck said.

Maryland came to bat late in the seventh, looking to end the game with a first-round victory. The Terps’ bats struggled throughout the game, but their resilience kept them fresh-minded and generated enough offense to win the game.

Maryland bounced back in a big way to close out the weekend, ending the Spring Games on a high note. Montgomery’s coaching staff believes that resilience is one of the most important factors in being a successful team. For this team, it’s going to move them forward as the season goes on.

“For our kids to continue to stay out there and fight, never give up and always believed they could win, I think that’s a testament to their core value and what they’re trying to achieve. ‘accomplish,’ Montgomery said.

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