After a slow start, the Cornell women’s softball team caught fire last week ending its seven day trip to Florida with a record of 7-4.
The week started out with two losses on Mar. 19 against Stony Brook and then another against Wisconsin-Green Bay in which two freshmen provided the lone highlights for the Red.
In the first game against the Seawolves, Sarah Sterman pitched an absolute gem, striking out ten while scattering four hits and allowing only one unearned run over six innings. Unfortunately for the Red, the rest of the squad could not provide Sterman with any help, and it ended up losing 1-0.
In the following game, classmate Katie Varde starting things off with a bang, hitting a two run homer in the very first inning, only to see that lead squandered as the Red lost 6-2.
“The first day was a little rough, but our defense kept us in both games and we only got more comfortable as the week went on,” commented senior pitcher Nicole Zitarelli.
After an inauspicious start, to say the Red got more comfortable would be a huge understatement. The next three days would see the team take six straight impressive decisions over some very stiff competition.
On Mar. 20, Sterman and Zitarelli each won a complete game decision in two stellar pitching duels.
Sterman won her game 3-2 allowing seven hits, one walk and one strikeout in seven innings of work against Baltimore County.
Zitarelli got a little help from Varde who homered in the first inning giving the hurler all the cushion she needed. The game ended with a Cornell victory at 3-1.
“It was really the defense that won games all week and our pitching staff did a phenomenal job keeping up its pace until the offense finally caught up,” said head coach Dick Blood.
The following day particularly allowed the Cornell offense to catch up with the week long consistency of the defense.
In the first game, Varde went 3-3 with a double and an RBI, senior captain Charlotte Brombach added two runs and an RBI double, while senior Sara Sinclair hit a two out homer run in the fifth to cap an offensive bashing of a good Central Connecticut State team.
Sophomore Jamie Hamilton earned the win.
The offense really caught fire in the second game of the day against a stunned Army squad.
In the 14-1 thrashing, five Cornell players homered including Varde, juniors Kristen Hricenak and Annette Sheppard, and freshmen Melissa Cannon and Allison Batten who hit two on the day.
The streak continued on Mar. 22 as Sarah Sterman won two decisions and Katie Varde continued her hot streak.
The first game against Army was a nail-biter that went to nine innings, with Hricenak ending the game with a double in the bottom of the ninth to score Varde.
The second game saw Varde completely take over, drilling two home runs and accounting for 5 runs in an 8-4 victory for the Red. Sophomore Drew Martin also hit her first collegiate home run in the contest.
“We are very proud of our team’s performance, especially during the six game winning streak where we really played like we know we can,” said Sterman.
The final day saw the Red split games. The first game was an all out pitcher’s duel which saw Sterman take a tough loss in eight innings by a score of 1-0 against Augustana.
The second game was another offensive thrashing this time against Southampton as Zitarelli pitched four one hit innings and freshmen Leah deRiel hit her first collegiate home run to deep centerfield.
“The freshmen responded all week, we got a big win against Army’s number one pitcher [on Mar. 22], and we finished strong on a really good note. We’re really excited heading into this weekend’s first Ivy league game [against Columbia],” summed up Blood.
The Red has a tentative game against Colgate this Wednesday and then starts up its league season on Saturday at Columbia.
Archived article by Scott Jones