March 27, 2003

Softball Team Set for Pair Against Colgate

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The softball team (8-2) will look to continue its winning ways when it heads to Colgate for a doubleheader this afternoon. The Red has won eight consecutive games after dropping its first two of the season on the strength of solid defense, stellar pitching, and timely hitting.

Over spring break, Cornell lost two games to Stetson before winning all eight of its contests at the Rebel Games in Florida. The Red defeated IUPUI, St. Peters, Dayton, Rider, George Washington, Vermont, Fordham and Army during the week-long excursion.

Junior standout hurler Sarah Sterman won six games on the trip, which earned her the Ivy League Pitcher of the Week distinction. Meanwhile, junior Kate Varde won the league’s Player of the Week Award after batting 11-for-15, while freshman Whitney Smith became the Rookie of the Week after posting the program’s third no-hitter.

While Cornell was expected to field a strong lineup and pitching staff, what surprised the coaching staff was the play of the defense, especially considering that the Red had been forced to practice exclusively indoors because of the weather.

“We played solid groundball and flyball defense,” head coach Dick Blood said. “The kids did a beautiful job orchestrating the defense.”

Cornell will face a stern test in Colgate (10-5), however. The Raiders started their season by going a perfect 5-0 at the Hampton Tournament in Virginia, then split its 10 games last week on its Florida trip, which included contests at the Rebel Games and the Central Florida Tournament.

Colgate’s offensive attack is led by the Rawson sisters, Melissa and Natalie. Melissa has already hit five home runs on the season, and leads the team with a .413 average. Natalie is second on the team with a .381 average and leads the team with 16 RBI.

“We had a chance to watch them down in Florida,” Blood said. “The middle of their order is loaded with power. They’re a really, really solid ballclub.”

On the mound, the Red should expect to face Elena Isaac and Kate Howard. Isaac has starred thus far, giving up just nine runs in over 52 innings of work. Howard hasn’t been far behind, as she holds a 2.17 ERA and a 5-3 record.

For Cornell, however, the focus this early into the season will be on its own performance, as it still has much to improve upon before the league season kicks off in a week and a half.

“We need to sharpen up in all facets of the game. We got caught a few times in transition, backing up bases,” Blood said of fundamental mistakes the team made in Florida. “We’re still a little anxious at the plate and we’re still striking out a little more than we want.”

The Red, though, will be able to use today’s games to work out those kinks. First pitch for the opener is at 3:30 p.m.

Archived article by Alex Ip

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