April 9, 2008

Sophomore Menaker Stands Out In Softball’s Sweep of Bonnies

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Seven innings was not enough to determine a winner in either of yesterday’s softball games between Cornell and St. Bonaventure. The Red continued its recent habit of never giving up as the home team swept a doubleheader with the Bonnies at Niemand Robison Field.
Though trailing late in both games, Cornell (23-7, 5-1 Ivy) prevailed by scores of 5-3 and 7-6 in two games that each lasted eight innings.
Of the ten members of the Red to step to the plate in Game 1 yesterday, nine of them combined for just six hits, one walk and zero RBI. Fortunately for Cornell, those totals do not include the production from sophomore third baseman Elise Menaker, who ended the day with three home runs.
The clean-up hitter had a single to left field in the second inning and a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth inning; however, it appeared that her efforts would be futile, as the team trailed 3-2 midway through the eighth inning.
Menaker came to the plate with two runners on base in the bottom half of that inning with one last opportunity to torment the Bonnie pitching.
She delivered, launching a ball to center. The hit was her third of the game and resulted in a walk-off home run.
“It’s interesting because over the weekend, I had an opportunity for some RBI in a very clutch situation after Alyson [Intihar] hit in the tying run,” Menaker said. “I went down swinging.”
“You can’t always try to be a hero, you just have to try to keep the inning going,” Menaker said. “I learned a lot in that at bat. Today, once Alyson got on, I was just trying to move her around. I wasn’t thinking about hitting a home run and if I was, I wouldn’t have been as successful.”
Whether or not she was thinking about the home run, she delivered with the long ball the team needed.
The second game may have been even more exciting than the first. Each team got on the board quickly, as Cornell led 2-1 after one inning. The pitchers then quickly settled into a groove and neither team reached home plate in any of the next three innings.
In the fifth inning, St. Bonaventure ended the offensive drought in a big way, scoring four runs. Menaker, still swinging a hot bat, matched two of the runs by clubbing another home run, her third of the day. St. Bonaventure tacked on a run in the sixth. Heading into the bottom of the seventh, Cornell trailed 6-4 and needed a little more magic if it hoped to come out on top.
Just in time, Menaker was due up in the inning. She came to the plate with one out delivered with a single. About the only thing Menaker did not do well yesterday was brag.
“I guess I can say that I wasn’t disappointed [with my performance],” she said. “It was exciting. I really was just trying to do what I could for the team.”
Menaker’s single brought the tying run to the plate, and senior outfielder Jenna Campagnolo showed that Menaker isn’t the only member of the Red with a sense of the moment.
Campagnolo drilled a game-tying home run that soared over the leftfielder and sent the game to extra innings. Once again, the game ended in dramatic fashion. Senior outfielder Ashley Wolf scored the winning run when she stole home on a wild pitch.
The Red is back in action tomorrow, when it will host Ivy foe Dartmouth.
“We have to keep hitting,” said sophomore Devon March. “We’ve been doing a great job of staying relaxed, even when we fall behind.”