Spring means new beginnings, and that is especially true for the softball team this weekend. The Red (12-9) will face Siena this afternoon, and then begin its defense of the Ivy title with its league opener against Columbia.
The Red is an entirely different team from a year ago, with 11 freshmen joining the roster and only one of six All-Ivy selections from last year’s championship squad returning to the field this season. The team made significant progress in building a cohesive team unit and gaining invaluable field experience on its trip to Florida over spring break, brining home a 9-5 record after a week of competition.
“Definitely, going to Florida was really good,” said senior co-captain Erin Kizer. “We got a lot of games and a lot of people got at bats.”
Senior co-captain Lauren May led the charge for the Red in Flordia, hitting .486 and notching a double, two home runs, and 14 RBI over 14 games. Sophomore Erin Murtha also enjoyed a successful week, averaging .429 at the plate. Freshman Jenna Campagnolo and junior Caitlin Warren give the Red depth in the batting order, hitting .324 and .298, respectively, this season. Kizer has contributed team-high 14 RBI while hitting .226.
The Red’s first challenge will be Siena (7-10), with a doubleheader kicking off this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at Neimand-Robinson Field. Cornell was on the winning end of a 6-3 decision when the teams faced off at the Rebel Games last week. May connected on all three at-bats and drove in two runs for the Red, and freshman Samantha Hare added another two RBI. Siena is coming off two victories over Bucknell last weekend. Sarah Rose leads the team with a .511 hitting percentage and 14 RBI. Adrian St. Cin is the No. 1 pitcher for the Saints, posting a 5-3 record and 3.50 ERA on the mound this year.
“We played them in Florida and beat them, but they’re a good team,” Kizer said. “It should be a good warm up for our games on Saturday.”
Columbia (12-12) will be the first league challenger for the Red tomorrow.
The Lions are led by pitcher Jackie Adeflio, the 2003 Ivy League pitcher of the year. Adelfio holds a 8-5 record and a 2.40 ERA thus far in the season. First baseman Marisa Marconi, an All-Ivy first team selection last year, leads the Lions with a .265 batting average.
“She’s definitely a good pitcher,” Kizer said. “We’ll have to hit well, but I think we can.”
Junior Whitney Smith leads the pitching corps for the Red with a 2.98 ERA and a 4-5 record this season. Her supporting staff is made up of rookie Jen Meunier has earned a 6-2 record and a 4.60 ERA and fellow freshman Jenn Lesczinski is 2-2 with a 5.02 ERA.
“I think we’re excited to get started,” Kizer said. “Some people are a little nervous, but we’re ready to go. There’s definitely a little bit of pressure since we did so well last year. We’ll just take it one game at a time — that’s all we can do.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor