In a league of equals, the softball team knew it had little room for losses in its remaining Ivy League games. That’s why Cornell’s 1-0 victory in Game 2 of a doubleheader Saturday against Harvard was a huge turnaround from its 9-5 Game 1 loss. The momentum carried over into the team’s doubleheader against Dartmouth yesterday, with the Red taking the first game, 5-0, while the second game was postponed due to weather untill 11 a.m. today.
Cornell struggled early in game one against Harvard’s Kara Brotemarkel, who had the Red chasing high heat out of the zone. Brotemarkel opened the game striking out five of Cornell’s first seven batters.
“She jumped us early in the game,” said head coach Dick Blood. “We were a little anxious early in the game, but we settled down after that and hit the ball a little bit better.”
However, the Crimson managed to figure out Cornell’s ace senior Sarah Sterman, rocking Sterman for six runs in the fourth inning. Four of the six runs came off of a grand slam hit by the Crimson’s Rachel Goldberg.
“That four spot really hurt us,” Blood said. “We battled back and got some runs, but we dug ourselves a pretty big hole there.”
Cornell mounted a small comeback on junior Melissa Heintz’s three-run home run in the fifth, and senior Erin Sweeney’s two-run double in the sixth, but the effort proved too-little, too-late, as the Crimson held on for the 9-5 win.
The Red turned things around in Game 2, scoring the only run of the game in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by junior Lauren May to bring in senior Kate Varde.
One run was all Cornell needed as sophomore Whitney Smith pitched a masterful complete-game shutout, allowing no runs on seven hits while striking out two.
“Whitney pitched out of a bunch of jams with quality pitches,” Blood said. “She had them out in front, using an effective change and breaking ball.”
Harvard stranded 11 base runners on the day while the Red’s defense was close to perfect, especially in the last inning, when senior Melissa Cannon scooped up a single to left and fired a strike to home plate which forced Harvard to hold the potential tying run at third. Smith then put away the game, fielding a slow roller up the middle for the final out.
“I thought our defense played well in both games,” Blood said. “We couldn’t stop the hits and the homers, but we played well when the ball was in play.
Sterman bounced back for the Red, turning in a solid performance in Cornell’s 5-0 win over Dartmouth, allowing only four hits in her complete game shutout.
Junior Erin Kizer led the scoring for the Red on the day with an RBI double in the fourth inning and solo home run in the fifth inning.
Smith continued to pitch well, striking out the side in Game 2 against Dartmouth before the game was postponed.
“We know that 11-3 or 10-4 is going to win the league,” Blood said. “We need win that ballgame [today], and we need to run the table the rest of the season.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer