As a prelude to its Ivy League season, the women’s softball team (13-9, 0-0) will make a visit today to struggling in-state rival Siena (1-12). The Red, which has been battling inconsistency, will look to right the ship before it embarks on a tough roadtrip to Penn and Princeton this weekend.
The primary difference between the two teams is pitching. While Cornell’s pitching staff has been remarkable, Siena’s hurlers have been mediocre. The Red’s sophomore pitching duo of Sarah Sterman and Nicole LePera has thrived this season, with both pitchers sporting low ERA’s of 1.45 and 2.14, respectively. Sterman leads the club with her seven wins, and has an incredible 62 strikeouts compared to just three walks.
“They’ve kept us in many ballgames where we’ve laid down a little bit,” Cornell head coach Dick Blood said of his pitching staff. “I really think that they’ve been the glue so far.”
Conversely, Siena’s pitchers have struggled. The Saints’ team ERA is 6.44, and every hurler on the staff has an ERA above four.
However, despite the advantages the Red would appear to have on paper, Blood was quick to praise his opponents.
“They’re very talented defensively,” he noted. “They poke the ball, run the bases well.”
After booting the ball frequently over its Spring Break, Cornell seems to have found its rhythm on the field. Although the team committed four errors in its doubleheader against Fairfield last Thursday, Blood believes that his troops have addressed their problems.
“Our doubleheader against Fairfield, we had a couple of small miscues, but we played very good defense that day, which was encouraging,” he said. “I think we’re coming around.”
More importantly, Blood believes that his team’s ability to cope with its errors is the key to success.
“If we make a mistake, it’s a matter of damage control, not letting the floodgates open,” he commented.
As with the pitching, two underclassmen — sophomore Kate Varde and freshman Lauren May — headline Cornell’s batting order. May leads the Red with a .429 batting average, 11 homeruns, and 29 RBIs. Meanwhile, Varde is second to May in both batting average (.391) and round-trippers (3), and leads the team runs scored (21). Yet, for Cornell to be successful in the long run, others must step up.
“Plain and simple, more bodies have to step forward,” Blood acknowledged. “We don’t need a single leader, two leaders, three leaders. Everybody needs to take their step forward.”
A strong lineup from top to bottom will only increase the team’s attack and take pressure off May and Varde.
“That’ll certainly help May and Varde, and [opponents] will stop pitching around the two.”
Archived article by Alex Ip