Quinnipiac softball falls to Yale 8-0 in “Chris’ game”

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Quinnipiac softball falls to Yale 8-0 in “Chris’ game”

M.J. Baird

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By: Sam Bousquet

It was a day of remembrance in Hamden, as the Quinnipiac softball team (16-18 overall, 5-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) hosted Yale (8-22 overall, 4-8 Ivy League) for a non-conference matchup.

Although the Bobcats fell to the Bulldogs 8-0, the focus wasn’t entirely on the game.  The two teams put the competition to the side and reflected on the life of Chris Labbadia, the late son of Quinnipiac assistant coaches Rocco and Lynn Labbadia. This marks the third consecutive year that Quinnipiac and Yale have played a game of a remembrance.

“I told (the team) that we are all going to have life changing events,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Rocco Labbadia said. “As much as we wish that isn’t going to happen to any of us, it’s going to happen to all of us at some point. And so…it’s an emotional day.”

The afternoon began with a ceremony commemorating the 19-year-old, who died tragically in a single car accident in 2016. Although Wednesday had a bigger meaning for both teams, Labbadia did not excuse the Bobcats for the way they played.

“They have to learn from today,” Labbadia said. “They have to know that life gets in the way a lot of times. But when you step across these white lines…or these orange lines…it’s game ready. You gotta put game on. You gotta attack it. You gotta want it. You gotta show up.”

Quinnipiac fell to Yale by way of mercy rule in five innings. Lack of execution at the plate was apparent, as the Bobcats walked away with only two hits.

“Every pitch is a learning experience,” Labbadia said. “Every at-bat is a learning experience. So if they learn from today, they’ll learn to understand what it’s like to hit a changeup, lay off a rise ball and be aggressive when they need to be.”

Defense was an issue as well, as Quinnipiac committed three errors in the field. Out of Yale’s eight runs, only five were earned.

“We need to make the plays,” Labbadia said. “I don’t need to cheer for them to make a play, they just need to make the plays. Make the easy ones look easy, and the hard ones look routine.”

Quinnipiac pitcher Abbey Long earned the start on Wednesday, looking for her first win of the season. Long has struggled in all of her 13 appearances to date, which has shot her ERA up to 10.32.

However, the coaching staff did not pin Wednesday’s loss on Long.

“All for the positive, I thought Abbey made a lot of great pitches today. (She) got a lot of ground balls like we expected out of her,” Labbadia said. “We need to make the plays.”

Regardless of the non-conference loss, Quinnipiac still sits comfortably in second place in the MAAC with a 5-1 record. But in order to ensure more success, the Bobcats need to return to their offensive dominance and precision in the field.

“If they can take anything from today, it’s going to be that they should be more prepared as we now enter into our stretch of the MAAC,” Labbadia said. “I ask for nothing less than full commitment and throttle. Throttle up! It’s time.”

It was a tough day for Quinnipiac fans, as they had to witness in-state rival Yale walk away with the win. However the rivalry was put aside for an afternoon as the two teams came together in honoring Chris Labbadia.

“It was a great day,” the first year assistant coach said. “I love my boy.”

Quinnipiac looks to put this loss in the rearview, as it travels to Poughkeepsie, New York to take on MAAC rival Marist on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.