April 6, 2007

Softball Travels to R.I. to Play Dartmouth, Harvard

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The softball team was prepared to play the first home games of its Ivy League schedule this weekend. Weather conditions have altered the team’s plans, however, as Cornell will still compete against Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend, but the games will be played in Providence, R.I., at Brown.
“It’s going be too cold [in Ithaca],” said head coach Dick Blood. “Their predictions [for the weather] do not reach 25 degrees with the wind-chill either day.”
While the team is annoyed by the change, it still expects to perform well this weekend.
“Obviously we would like to play our home games at home,” said junior outfielder Ashley Wolf. “But if it’s not possible, you have to play the games somewhere.”
Tomorrow, the Red will face Dartmouth in a doubleheader featuring games at noon and 2 p.m. The two games between the squads were extremely close last year. The first game went to extra innings and ultimately ended in the ninth inning when Wolf scored on a hit from classmate Jenna Campagnolo. Junior Jenn Meunier pitched all nine innings for the Red and did not allow an earned run while striking out nine.
In the Red’s other contest against Dartmouth last year, departed Red pitcher Whitney Smith ’06 was roughed up in the first inning, allowing four runs. The Red climbed back, but ultimately lost, 4-3. Sophomore Haley Mirrer, who will start the second game tomorrow, came on strong in relief a year ago, allowing only one hit in 3 2/3 innings against the Green.
Sunday, the Red will challenge Harvard, a team that the Red defeated in both opportunities in 2006, winning 3-0 and 8-5 during a doubleheader. Meunier pitched a complete game shutout in the first game, while Mirrer started and earned a victory in the second. Wolf led the Red offense, contributing a home run and three RBI on the day.
“Harvard is beefed up this year, but so are we. It should be a dog-fight,” Blood said. “The games were really close and I expect them to be close again. We don’t want to overlook Dartmouth though; we will be challenged both days.”
Wolf emphasized the importance of the early games in the team’s conference schedule.
“We really want to get off to a good start,” Wolf said. “Every game is important.”
“When you play a season that’s only 20 games, every game is critical,” Blood said. “If a team gets out to a roaring start, it’s tough to catch-up.”
The Red will use Meunier and Mirrer as its starting pitchers, with Meunier starting the first game on each day. While weather conditions are expected to be far from ideal, the projected high temperatures in Rhode Island for both days this weekend are in the 40s.
“We play in a lot of cold weather all year long,” Blood said. “[Our opponents] are used to cold weather too. We’ve just got to grin and bear it.”