March 30, 2007

Softball Opens Ivy Season

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The Red will open its Ivy season this weekend with two days of doubleheaders on the road, facing Yale in New Haven, Conn. tomorrow and Brown in Providence, R.I. on Sunday.

“We had a good Florida trip. We feel good about how we’re playing,” said head coach Dick Blood. “We’re vulnerable in different spots, and we have the potential to be successful at the same time.”

Through the Red’s 8-6 stretch in Florida over Spring Break, the team’s pitching and offense were solid as always. The Red’s offense even saw a spike in production. Freshman Alyson Intihar smacked a two-run shot over the fence against Stetson on March 18, and then hit a walk-off grand slam against Wagner the next day.

“Everyone’s just really pumped up and ready to start [the Ivy season],” Intihar said.

As of yesterday, the starting lineup had not been finalized. Junior Jenn Meunier (10-3, with an ERA of three), however, will probably start in tomorrow’s game, while sophomore Haley Mirrer (8-2, 1.72) will face the Bears in the second game. Manning the remaining eight positions will be a mix of solid veterans and talented freshman.

“All I can say is that we’re going with best offensive lineup that we can,” Blood said.

According to Blood, Yale has an “outstanding offensive lineup,” including standout senior Aracelis Torres and sophomores Meghan Enyeart and Katie Edwards. Enyeart and Edwards shared Yale’s Most Valuable Player Award last year in their rookie season, and Edwards has posted a team-leading .500 batting average.

Torres was recently named Ivy League Player of the Week for her dominant performance at the Rebel Games in Kissimmee, Fla. Batting .615 with two doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI, she made one error in the eight-game tournament. Torres tops the Bulldogs in RBI (18) and home runs (three).

The Bulldogs also boast up-and-coming star performers. Centerfielder Ashley Sloan shared Co-Rookie of the Week honors last week with Harvard’s Stephanie Krysiak, after batting .571 and contributing excellent defense to help Yale sweep Marist in a doubleheader.

“[Yale has] multiple offensive threats,” Blood said. “They can also knock the ball out of the yard.”

The Red swept Yale last year in New Haven, 5-3 and then 4-0. The challenge this year will be to contain Yale’s explosive hitters once again. Yale (13-3) is currently sitting on top of the Ancient Eight standings.

Although Brown (6-11) is mired in a nine-game losing streak after a winless seven-game California road trip, Blood won’t underestimate them. The Red won the first game of a doubleheader against the Bears last year, 5-3. Freshman pitcher Mirrer owned the mound in the second game, striking out nine of the first 15 batters, but the Red eventually fell, 1-3.

Brown’s team dynamics are even more of a question mark this season, according to Blood, since the Bears lost players to graduation. Brown now fields a very young squad. With only one senior, captain Liz Anderson, and two other upperclassmen on the roster, inexperience has plagued the team from Providence. The Red, with nine freshman of its own, is still developing as well.

“We’re excited to see if we can start off on the right note … and play well as a team, as a unit,” Blood said.