Only one word is needed to sum up the efforts of the Cornell softball team (20-11, 6-0 Ivy) thus far. After a shaky Spring Break, the squad has shown the Ivy League what the Red knew all along — that it has the potential to go all the way.
This weekend was just another step towards capturing the Ivy title. Crushing Yale (14-15, 2-2) yesterday and edging out Brown (2-20) on Saturday, the Red has solely taken the top spot in the conference as Princeton and Harvard split games this weekend.
If it hasn’t been done already, this weekend may have proved that Cornell is the big hitter of the league. Homers from all over the roster highlighted a truly exciting weekend. Freshman Kate Varde led the way, once again sending the ball over the fence in both games against Yale yesterday. Her ninth home run broke the old record for dingers in a season.
A modest and team-oriented Varde didn’t comment on her own record-breaking feat, just stating, “All that matters is that we win games. That’s all that I care about.”
Head coach Dick Blood, however, praised her.
“It’s pretty special,” he said. “As a freshman she has nine now, a single-season record.”
However, Blood doesn’t want Varde to use all of her firepower up.
“Of course it is still early, we want her to keep hitting the ball hard because she gets a lot of doubles and singles, too,” he said. “She’s got good wheels on the bases, so she is a complete player.”
Another set of homeruns allowed the Red to come from behind to beat the Bears from Brown on Saturday, 14-10 and 13-12.
With his team getting down early in both contests, Blood offered some advice to the Red.
“You got to keep pecking away,” he said. “It’s a seven inning game, there is no clock up there.”
Taking his words to heart, Cornell pounded back to erase an eight-run lead that Brown accrued in the top of the third inning.
However, in an improbable change of events, the Red started a much-needed rally from the bats of freshman Melissa Cannon and senior Allison Batten. During that inning, Cannon gave Cornell five runs batted in, and Cornell closed out the inning up, 9-8.
In the fifth inning, Cannon once again came through for the Red, nailing a grand slam to centerfield, giving Cornell a 13-8 lead. Cannon finished the game with nine runs batted in, an all-time Cornell record.
An RBI double by Erin Sweeney scored senior co-captain Charlotte Brombach to give Cornell its final run.
In the second game, a two-run homer by Batten and RBIs by juniors Kristen Hricenak and Christina Trout gave Cornell a 4-1 lead after the first inning. This lead was short-lived though, as Brown scored ten runs over the next four innings.
In the sixth inning freshman pinch hitter Leah deRiel nailed a three-run homer bringing the score to within two. Hricenak also homered later in the inning.
After the teams exchanged runs in the next inning, Sweeney and Sara Sinclair scored off a single to centerfield by Varde to end the game.
Though yesterday’s doubleheader lacked any record-breaking heroics, Cornell went out and got the job done, quickly. It managed to rout out the Bulldogs from Yale in just five innings in both games due to the mercy rule.
The Red won the first game after an eight-run fourth inning. Freshman Sarah Sterman earned the win on the mound.
In the second game, a variety of home runs coming from Varde, deRiel, and then finally Annette Sheppard who hit the game-winner stunned the Bulldogs, rendering them helpless. Senior Nicole Zitarelli picked up the win.
Of the weekend, Brombach praised the Red.
“It feels great,” she acknowledged of the Red’s 6-0 record. “Our defense is doing well, our offense [is doing well], our pitching is great. Things are happening, so if we can keep that focus, not get too overconfident, I think we look good going into this weekend.”
Archived article by Kristen Haunss