March 30, 2001

Softball Returns to the Field

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After a one-week layoff due to inclement weather, the Cornell softball team (12-9, 0-0 Ivy) returns to action this weekend hoping to continue its winning ways. However, it will face two equally hot teams in the forms of Fairfield (11-7-1) on Saturday, followed by Columbia (7-7, 0-0) on Sunday.

Cornell enters the weekend playing its best ball of the early season, after winning seven of eight games over Spring Break at the Rebel Games in Florida. In the invitational, the Red dominated opponents, outscoring them 55-14 during the stretch, including a 13-0 trouncing of Southampton last Friday.

The Red’s first opponent, Fairfield, seems to have hit its stride after early season troubles. Over the past ten games, the Stags have compiled a 7-2-1 record, in large part due to improved pitching and timely hitting. They are led by pitching whiz sophomore Melissa Santos, who has won ten of her fourteen decisions, including a 1-0, two-hit masterpiece against Binghamton last Friday. In addition to their hot pitching, they have been clutch as of late, using two late game rallies to sweep Binghamton.

On Sunday, Cornell will begin its 2001 Ivy League season with a showdown against Ivy League newcomer Columbia. Although carrying only a .500 record into the affair, the Lions have won four of their past five games. They have relied heavily on sophomore Allison Buehler this year, and she has not disappointed. She holds five of Columbia’s seven wins and is the only pitcher on the staff with a winning record (5-1). Other team pitchers have been hurling better recently, however, especially freshman Laura Grant, who won her first game of the season last Friday with a no-hitter against Bucknell.

For Cornell, everyone seems to be stinging the ball, particularly freshman sensation Kate Varde. She garnered Ivy League Softball Rookie of the Week honors this past week after batting .448, scoring 10 runs, blasting 5 homeruns, and driving in 12 runs over an impressive 11-game streak. Currently Varde leads the team with a .396 batting average and 7 homeruns, which put her within one of the school record. Also on a tear is captain and senior OF Charlotte Brombach, who has the second highest batting average on the team at .333. She leads the team with three stolen bases.

Not to be overshadowed by the offense, Cornell’s pitching has been equally impressive lately. The duo of freshman Sarah Sterman and senior Nicole Zitarelli have kept the opponents in check and been giving the team a chance to win every game. Sterman has pitched well all season long and holds a team-leading 1.36 ERA. Even more impressive, she has allowed only 55 baserunners in 57 innings. Staff ace Zitarelli has pitched well the past few games, including a shutout win over Southampton.

In order for the Cornell to have a successful weekend, it must keep its high-powered offense running on all cylinders.

Archived article by Alex Ip