“It’s been a crazy few days.”
That’s what sophomore Chelsea Benjamin of the Muhlenberg softball team said following yesterday’s doubleheader sweep of Haverford. And it was a bit of an understatement.
For better or for worse, the Mules are doing their best to dispel the notion that fastpitch softball is a low-scoring game dominated by pitchers.
On March 23, in the first game of a doubleheader against then-No. 17 (now No. 14) Cortland State, Muhlenberg played what many would consider a traditional college softball game. The game was scoreless after seven innings, after which the teams went to international tiebreaker rules, starting each half inning with a runner on second. The intent is to increase chances for scoring so games do not go on inning after inning with zeroes on the board.
Cortland scored three in the ninth to win that game, and in the 12 days since, there haven’t been many zeroes on the board when the Mules have played.
Starting with the second game of that twinbill, Muhlenberg’s final scores in the next eight games were 7-6, 11-5, 11-3, 10-3, 7-6, 9-8, 7-6 and 6-0. In three of the four one-run games, the Mules took a lead of at least four runs into the final inning, losing the lead once and twice ending the game with the tying run on base.
Those eight games averaged more than 13 runs scored. And they were nothing compared to the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader, won by Muhlenberg, 17-13.
It was the fifth-highest scoring game in team history; the other four came in 1979 and 1980, the first two years of softball at Muhlenberg. The record for runs by both teams is 37, set in a 28-9 win against Moravian in 1980.
The game marked the 11th time in team history that both teams scored in double digits, and most of the first 10 occasions come from the early days of the sport:
- 1979 Allentown 18, Muhlenberg 13
- 1979 Moravian 22, Muhlenberg 13
- 1980 Delaware Valley 18, Muhlenberg 17
- 1981 Kutztown 11, Muhlenberg 10
- 1982 Wilkes 12, Muhlenberg 11 (MAC championship game)
- 1983 Lehigh 11, Muhlenberg 10
- 1988 Lafayette 13, Muhlenberg 12 (8 innings)
- 1995 Muhlenberg 14, Dickinson 13
- 2000 Lake Forest 11, Muhlenberg 10 (8 innings)
- 2011 Wesleyan 12, Muhlenberg 10
- 2012 Muhlenberg 17, Haverford 13
The good news for the Mules is that they have won most of the high-scoring games this year, and despite all of the drama they are sitting in good position in the Centennial Conference with a 6-2 record. They are averaging more than nine runs in their eight CC games and have reached double figures four times – as many times as they did in the last four years combined. The school record for scoring in double figures in CC games is eight times, set in 1994, the first year of the league.
And in case yesterday’s Game 2 score reminded you of another sport, it should be pointed out that the last Haverford-Muhlenberg softball game outscored the last Haverford-Muhlenberg football game, a 28-0 Mule win in 1971 shortly before the Fords discontinued the sport.