AMBLER — Coming off their first Atlantic Ten Conference win of the season and a seven-day lay-off, the women’s softball team returned to action against Saint Louis Sunday at the Ambler Sports Complex.
The forecasted rain didn’t arrive, and neither did the Owls bats as Temple was held to 13 hits and five runs in the doubleheader, dropping both games to the Billikens, 8-2 and 6-3.
With the losses, the Owls dropped to 8-11 overall and 1-3 in the A-10.
Junior Courtney Norene continued her chase of history as she nailed her 20th career home run in game two, placing her one shy of tying Adrienne Repsher’s all-time record of 21, a mark that she set last season.
“I am not a statistics girl,” Norene said. “Adrienne was great and I try not to think too much of it.”
With three home runs in her last six games, Norene now has seven dingers this season. With the season halfway over, she is on pace to hit 14 this year.
“She deserves it more than anybody,” sophomore catcher Krystle Metzler said. “She will hit any pitcher you have face her, she deserves it 100 percent.”
The best thing about Norene is “she wants to learn,” coach Casey Dickson said.
“[Like Repsher], it happened [for] her senior year,” Dickson said. “[When Courtney] finds those pieces like Adrienne did, I hope we have a big crowd to witness it.”
Despite Norene’s success, the Owls’ bats were kept quiet for most of the second game. Temple didn’t get it going until the seventh inning when Norene’s solo home run cut the Billikens lead to 6-1. Metzler then hit a single and junior Katie Burdeaux followed with a two-run homer to make it a three-run game.
The Billikens quickly regrouped, though, to shut the door on the Owls comeback hopes.
“Last season, we had a little bit more offensive strength, something we have been working on,” Metzler said. “We could do a better job executing and getting the bats going for a few more hits, [but] I’m definite that it’ll get here soon.”
The Owls, who rank ninth out of 11 teams in the A-10 in on-base percentage at .310, are struggling to score runs. They are near the bottom of the conference in runs scored.
“We’re having challenges when we get people on, we’re not scoring them,” Dickson said. “[You] have the ability to succeed when asked.”
The coach said she believes in this year’s group as much as last year’s squad.
“[There were] areas we struggled in last year, that we’re better in this year but nobody seems to realize it,” Dickson said.
The major difference between last year and this year though, is the Owls don’t have the leadership of Repsher and Jessica Rohn, who both graduated last season.
“They demonstrated the ability to get it done,” Dickson said. “[This year], they’re not getting it done.”
The Owls will play back-to-back doubleheader games against Wagner this afternoon followed by a Big 5 showdown with Penn tomorrow at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Joe Polinsky can be reached at email@example.com.