March 14, 2008

Softball Preps for Ivy Opener With Annual Spring Break Trip

Print More

After missing four games due to rain last weekend in Virginia, the softball team will spend spring break under the Florida sun while taking care of a packed 16-game, eight-day schedule. After getting out to a quick 5-1 start, the Red will look to bolster its record before heading into Ivy play next weekend by traveling for the Stetson Invitational and the Rebel Spring Games. Cornell will also play its annual double-header with Bethune Cookman in between Rebel games.
The Red’s first stop will be Deland, Fla., where it takes on Bowling Green, Iowa twice, and the host Stetson Hatters. In last year’s trip to Stetson, Cornell won its first two games before losing by one run in extra-innings to Stetson. The Red dropped its final two games of the tournament to finish 2-3.
This year, with Stetson as the only common opponent from last season’s schedule, Cornell will again be the least prepared team, game-wise. While each of Cornell’s opponents has already played a minimum of thirteen games with its current roster, the Red has played only six of its 10 scheduled contests.[img_assist|nid=28843|title=Line of sight|desc=Sophomore infielder Elise Menaker, the Ancient Eight’s first Player of the Week for the 2008 season, will play in the Stetson Invitational and Rebel Spring Games over Spring Break.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“The competition will be very stiff,” said head coach Dick Blood. “Each of the teams won a minimum of 35 games last year, and Stetson actually won 45 — very solid programs. All the teams have been outside quite a bit already, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Freshman pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple will start the first game of the Stetson Invitational, followed by senior Jenn Meunier and freshman Ali Tomlinson. All three have had strong starts to the season, led by Meunier’s 3-0 record. The three-pitcher rotation will continued to be used heading into the Rebel Spring Games.
At the Rebel Games, in which Cornell participates every year, the Red will play two games each day against different teams, eventually facing 10 teams over the course of five days. Over last season’s spring break, the Red escaped the pool of 150 teams with a record above .500.
Cornell’s list of opponents scheduled for the Rebel Games is very different from what they will face at the Stetson Invitational. Only three of 10 teams Cornell will face in Kissimmee, Fla., have played 10 games.
Among the Red’s upcoming foes, the most wins any team has are three — Iona (3-5), Wisconsin-Green Bay (3-9), Akron (3-11) and Army (3-8). Four teams have only won one contest and Cornell’s final two opponents, Farleigh Dickinson and Wagner, don’t have a win between them. Combined, Cornell’s opponents will head down to Kissimmee with 16 wins in 67 contests.
“I think we’re in the same position [as we were last year],” Blood said concerning the Rebel Games. “We’re playing completely different teams. Hopefully we can see some upside and improvement during the week — Stetson will prepare us for the Rebel games.”
Between Day 3 and 4 of the Rebel Games, Cornell will travel to Daytona Beach, Fla., to play a double-header with Bethune Cookman (5-23). After losing all of its starting pitchers and the majority of its position players from last season, the Wildcats have plummeted after finishing last year 22-36.
In last year’s meeting between the two teams, the Wildcats took the first game, 6-4, but dropped Game 2 11-2. Bethune Cookman will return four starters from last year’s contest, including its two leading hitters.
“They’re a very fast team, very well coached,” Blood said. “Last year, their second pitcher from the first game went in the second game, but I’m not sure they have three pitchers on their staff this year. We don’t know much about their staff.”
The weekend after Spring Break, Cornell will open the Ivy League season with a double-header against Harvard and another double-header against Dartmouth the next day.
“When we arrive back on campus we better be ready because the Ivy League opens up on that very next weekend,” Blood said. “We’ll use these games as competition and we’ll take them seriously — every game’s for keeps — and hopefully they’ll prepare us for the Ivy League schedule.”