February 29, 2008

Softball Attempts Undefeated Start for Second Year in Row

Print More

Though the softball team is heading south this afternoon, the task at hand is not sunning on a beach, but opening the team’s 2008 season. As the reigning champions of the George Mason Classic in Fairfax, Va., the Red hopes to repeat its four-game sweep in last year’s Patriot Classic.
With two games each on Saturday and Sunday, Cornell (0-0) will take on Quinnipiac (2-2), host George Mason (0-5) and Niagara (0-4). Cornell will open and close the tournament facing Quinnipiac.
“It’s pretty cold [in Ithaca], so I can’t imagine it being much warmer [in Virginia],” said 2007 Co-MVP senior outfielder Jenna Campagnolo. “I know it was very cold [last year], but we won all our games last year. So hopefully we can do it again.”
“Regardless of the temperatures, I really just want to make sure we get four games in, get ourselves on track,” said head coach Dick Blood. “Alabama is 15-0 right now. We have stepped outside yet.”
Though the Patriots, for example, are winless so far this season after five games at the Central Florida tournament last weekend in Orlando, Fla., they had three 1-0 losses — two of them in extra innings.
“They’ve played some fairly tough softball right now, so they’re eager to get at it,” Blood said. “And then we play Niagara, which has also lost a few close ball games and we beat them in a couple close games last year [10-2 and 3-1]. … Everyone’s improved [from last year], and hopefully we have too.”
The Red began official practices one month ago, with one minor hitch.
“We’ve been working indoors, in course, the whole time,” Blood said. “We had one afternoon where we could use our outfield for fly balls for 45 minutes. … We’re doing what we can inside, and we’ll make it work.”
While most of the position players have carried over from last year — with the entire outfield returning and senior co-captain Samantha Hare anchoring at shortstop — Blood said that some players will move to a different position.
“Our infield has a couple minor changes,” he said. “Last year, [sophomore 2007 ECAC All-Star Alyson] Intihar played first and second. Now it looks like she’ll probably play first most of the time. Devin March will probably move to the infield. Devin played the second half of the doubleheaders last year. … It looks right now as though she’ll probably take over the second base position, because she’s got some pop in her stick and she and Intihar really formed quite a defensive wall on that right side.”
As a freshman at last year’s Mason Classic, Intihar hit the Red’s first home run of the year — an omen of the success she would have in her first season as 2007 Co-MVP with Campagnolo.
“We only lost two people from last year, and I think we got a great freshman class,” Campagnolo said. “I think they’ll be able to contribute right away, so we’ve gained a lot this year.”
The freshmen will have the most significant effect from the mound, according to Blood. With the unexpected departure from the team of junior pitcher Haley Mirrer in order to pursue and internship, Cornell was lucky to have had two incoming freshman pitchers ready in the wings: Ali Tomlinson and Elizabeth “Dusty” Dalrymple.
“They’ll both be counted on to make an immediate impact. It needs to be a positive impact to be successful,” Blood said. “[Mirrer is] gone from the program, and we didn’t really expect that. Fortunately we have these two young pitchers who are both very capable to help Jenn Meunier, our senior starter. … So they’ll be a couple players to watch. We’ll determine fairly soon in the season how they respond.”