Five seniors said goodbye to Niemand-Robison Field this afternoon, as the softball team (27-19, 8-6 Ivy) concluded its home season. The upperclassmen couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff though; they left the field with roses, presents and two victories over crosstown foe Ithaca College. The Red defeated the Bombers 1-0 in the first game and 6-4 in the second.
Head coach Dick Blood praised his five seniors saying, “[I] couldn’t be happier for them; I am very proud of those five young ladies. They have had brilliant careers and they have all played in a lot of ball games and what a nice way to end it with a doubleheader sweep at home.”
The seniors reminisced about their four years on the Hill and the many softball memories they shared.
Co-captain Annette Shepard explained, “Pretty much everything I do, I’m thinking, last time I do this ever, last at bat ever, that’s what’s going through my head.”
She later added, “It’s sad, but it probably won’t hit me until tonight that I won’t really be out here playing again, ever.”
Sophomore Sarah Sterman earned her 18th win of the season and her fourth consecutive shutout, with the 1-0 victory in the first game. Sterman, who has been phenomenal the past few weeks, also picked up her second consecutive Ivy League Pitcher of the Week award. The sophomore gave up five hits and struck out five in the contest.
“In our first game, Sterman as usual kept us in the game. It was only a one-run game, so we needed her to help us out,” praised senior Christina Trout. “We had great defense, everything was just going together.”
The one and only run of that game came in the bottom of the first inning from Trout. With sophomore Melissa Cannon on third, Trout hit a hard grounder to the shortstop, who couldn’t handle it, allowing Cannon to score.
Cannon has had a bat of consistency, improving her hitting streak to seven games. She was 4-for-5 on the day.
One run was all the Red needed, as a strong defensive effort kept Ithaca off the board.
“Both Sterman for us, and Hanrahan for them pitched beautiful ball games working batters’ hands, and working the outside corner. The outfield play was very important; they hit a bunch of fly balls to the outfield and we had very good communication in the outfield and that helped us a lot. It was a very well played game defensively by both ball clubs.
Weather was a prime factor in the low scoring game as was expected, Blood explained.
“With a 30 mile-per-hour wind gusting, and cold temperatures and rain threatening, and the field a little soft, I expected it to be a low scoring ball game.”
Once again, Cornell wasted no time getting on the board. Sophomore Kate Varde found home plate first after a series of walks and errors on the part of Ithaca.
Ithaca evened the score quickly though, as Bomber catcher Kristen Furdon sent her eighth home run of the year over the fence to tie the score.
The fourth inning proved to be crucial for the Red. After some strong hitting from sophomores Sandra Alvarez, Erin Sweeney and senior Julie Staub, the Red took the lead, which it would not relinquish for the rest of the day. Even though the starter, freshman Abbey Pelot, was replaced, the damage was already done.
After taking down the Bombers 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth, the Red increased its 4-1 lead to 6-1 on some smart hitting by Sheppard, Alvarez, and Varde.
The Bombers were not done yet and attempted a comeback in the seventh to bring the score within two, but Sterman relieved sophomore Nicole LePera to throw a strikeout and a groundout to end the game.
The Red heads to Binghamton tomorrow for a doubleheader with the Bearcats starting at 3 p.m., and then takes on Boston College and University of Connecticut for weekend games.
Of the team’s final games, Trout commented, “For me it’s the last games I’ll probably ever play. I just want to give it my all. I hope the team puts everything out there, and we end with our heads up high.”
Heads will be held high — if the team keeps up its momentum, an ECAC bid could be in the future. The outcome of this weekend will be a deciding factor, and the Red won’t hear until next week.
Archived article by Kristen Haunss