The wind was fighting the No. 15-ranked Rowan softball team all day. Strong gusts constantly constricted the Profs batters from crushing the ball like usual.
For Ashley DeYoung, though, the wind was not an issue.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference’s leader in home runs beat the wind twice, mashing two balls over the high outfield fence in Glassboro.
While Rowan didn’t have much worry in a 7-0 win in the first game of its series against Rutgers-Camden, the end cap was a different story. The second of DeYoung’s dingers in game two resulted in a walkoff 2-1 win.
“I was thinking ‘All right, we need to get someone on and then score.’ So once we got that first out I was just thinking ‘got to get on anyway,” said DeYoung, the Profs’ designated player. “Then I got that count and I was just looking for my pitch, and I took it and drove it.”
Rutgers-Camden pitcher Brittany Scott laid a 1-0 offering into DeYoung, and the senior took it deep to center field for the win. On a calm day with no wind the ball may have sailed into the student parking lot.
It was in the bottom of the third inning that DeYoung first let Scott know she was going to be a tough out.
With Rowan trailing early on and missing out on scoring opportunities in each inning prior — one of which was a bases loaded situation — it was looking like a lackluster day at the plate was looming.
DeYoung became the day’s panacea.
After two unfulfilled innings, DeYoung dug into the right batter’s box and took a pitch deep down the right field line. It was reminiscent of Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair, just tucking in on the fair side of the foul pole and over the fence before the wind could push it right any further. The home run ignited the packed Senior Day crowd.
“It was emotional,” DeYoung said. “We all wanted to win this game.”
The sweep gave Rowan, the NJAC frontrunner, two conference points at a critical time in its season. The Profs head to North Jersey on April 26 to meet the conference’s second place team, the William Paterson University Pioneers.
Beth Ann Hyland was the winning pitcher for the Profs in both games. She turned in two gems, allowing just one run in 11 innings of work. The senior never allowed a runner to advance past second base in the 1-0 win during the back end of the doubleheader.
The senior said she thrives under the pressure of close games because “tensions are high and there’s no room for error.”
Rowan has three conference doubleheaders left before closing out the regular season. The brown and gold currently sit in the top spot of the conference with a 10-2 NJAC record.
Game 1: Rowan 7, Rutgers-Camden 0
Game 2: Rowan 2, Rutgers-Camden 1
@ New Jersey City University (doubleheader), Saturday 1 pm
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