Lehtonen continues hot start as softball improves to 3-1

Keri Lehtonen '19 (Photo by Alice Shore)
Keri Lehtonen '19 (Photo by Alice Shore)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Brandeis softball team averaged 11.5 runs per game over its first four contests over the weekend, as the Judges got off to a 3-1 start at Salem College in North Carolina.

After opening their trip with an 11-5 win over Frostburg State on Saturday afternoon, the Judges defeated Southern Virginia University, 18-9. On Sunday afternoon, Brandeis suffered its first defeat of the season against Frostburg, 14-5, before stopping Shenandoah University, 12-7.

Junior Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) has been the offensive star for the Judges so far. The catcher and leadoff hitter went 4-5 with six RBI – one shy of a school record – in the opener against FSU. In the rout of Southern Virginia, Lehtonen went 3-4 with three runs scored, a double and one RBI. Frostburg State was able to keep her contained in the second contest, holding Lehtonen hitless in three at-bats, but against Shenandoah, she reached base in all five at-bats. Lehtonen was 4-4 with a walk, a double, a triple and four more RBI. In total over the first four games, Lehtonen was hitting .688 with a .737 on-base percentage and 1.063 slugging.

Other top offensive performers over the first four contests included rookie shortstop Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii / Punahou School), who hit .583 (7-12) with two doubles, three walks and five RBI, and sophomore 3B PJ Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional), who blasted two home runs and had three doubles in 13 at-bats for a team-leading 1.231 slugging percentage. Ross drove in one run in each game, including solo homers in game 1 against Frostburg and against Shenandoah. She scored a team-high six runs.

As a team, in addition to the 11.5 runs per game, the Judges hit .475 over the four contests and slugged .667. Every Brandeis batter but one on the roster had a hit and scored a run in the process. Only four hitters on the roster did not drive in a run.

In the circle, the Judges' three wins were divided among three different pitchers. Sophomore Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest) earned the win against Frostburg State, with six strikeouts and seven runs (four earned) in the opener. Classmate Callie MacDonald (Hanover, Mass. / Hanover) tossed a complete game against SVU, allowing nine runs but only two earned in five innings of work, as the Judges committed a handful of errors in the Knights' big seven-run inning. McDonald earned the start in the second game against FSU, but again errors proved costly, as only one of the Bobcats' runs were earned as Brandeis committed seven miscues. Senior Sadie-Rose Apfel (Stamford, Conn. / Westhill) earned the win against Shenandoah, going the distance and giving up nine hits and seven runs (six earned) with four strikeouts against the Hornets.

After a day off on Monday, the Judges return to action on Tuesday afternoon with a pair of games against host school Salem College. The Judges and Spirits meet at 4:00.