While most Cornell students will have an opportunity to relax during next week’s spring break, the softball team faces a grueling schedule that includes 15 games in eight days. Beginning tomorrow, the Red (10-0) will be in Florida where it will compete against teams from across the country.
This weekend, the Red will participate in the Stetson Invitational, which includes host Stetson, Elon and in-state rival Syracuse. Tomorrow, the Red has its first triple-header of the season. Head coach Dick Blood plans to start different pitchers in each game. Sophomore Haley Mirrer will start one of the games and is looking to build upon her undefeated season.
Junior Jenn Meunier will also start a game tomorrow and is expected to be on the mound frequently this week. She was recently named Ivy League Pitcher of the Week for her performance last weekend when she won four games and earned a save in relief.
“Jenn did throw very, very well. I’m happy for her,” Blood said. “She certainly had a great week.”
Blood has a few options regarding who he uses as his third starting pitcher. While freshman Izzy Pines is the only other member of the Red who has pitched this season, coach Blood mentioned Pines’ classmate Dana Robbins as a potential starter. Robbins has seen limited action this season, playing first base and designated hitter.
“I love to play,” Robbins said. “We all work hard and we all want to play.”
Regardless of who starts, the Red will have to rely on its depth more than usual with so many games over a short period of time. Robbins believes that the secondary pitchers will have a major impact on the team’s success this trip.
“[Pitching depth] is going to be huge,” she said. “We don’t want to have to put all the pressure on Jenn and Haley.”
The pitchers will be given the day off today in hopes of keeping them fresh for the next week. After a superb first two weeks in which the Red has begun undefeated, it is important for the Red to validate their record against what Blood described as “stiffer competition.”
“There’s no question it’s a challenge to play that many games.” Blood said. “The thing to overcome will be being, not exhausted, but a little bit tired. It will be a challenge physically.”
Along with the opening weekend Stetson Invitational, the Red will participate in the Rebel Spring Games and the Stetson Classic. March 20th is the team’s only off day during the trip.
Last year, the Red won seven of 15 during its trip to Florida. The Red struggled with its pitching a year ago; something that is unlikely to happen again given the excellent pitching the Red has displayed so far this season.
“I thought our kids did a nice job on the trip last year. Last year we didn’t play steady defense,” Blood said. “I hope we’ll be able to compete a little better this year.”