April 21, 2008

Softball Moves Into League Tie for First

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Eighteen wins in a row. At this point, the softball team (35-7, 15-1 Ivy) has probably forgotten how it feels to lose, and this weekend was no different. In four games this weekend, Cornell dominated Columbia (12-29, 3-13 Ivy) in every aspect of the game.
“Everybody loves to win and just to be on this win streak and feel as confident as we do is really great for all of us,” said sophomore Devon March.
In the Red’s first game Saturday, the team’s winning streak initially appeared to be in jeopardy. The offense struggled early and the Lions took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. In that inning, the Red offense transformed from “struggling” to “unstoppable.”
The Red was eventually stopped that inning, but not by Columbia’s pitching. Cornell scored ten runs in the inning and had two more runners on base when the mercy rule was called into effect. The result was an 11-3 victory for the Red.
[img_assist|nid=30062|title=No mercy|desc=Sophomore Alyson Intihar attempts a double play in the Red’s 15-7 Saturday win over Columbia, ended by mercy rule.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Senior Samantha Hare hit both of the Red’s home runs in the game. The leftfielder totaled three hits and five RBIs in the game. Senior Jenn Meunier pitched all five innings for Cornell and picked up her 17th victory of the season. Meunier won again on Sunday and has an 18-1 record on the season.
The second game of the day followed a similar pattern to the first. Cornell’s offense again started slowly and Columbia held a 2-1 advantage in the fifth inning.
In that fifth inning, sophomore shortstop Alyson Intihar stepped to the plate with two runners on base and she drove them both home with a momentum-grabbing triple. Classmates Elise Menaker and Ashley Garvey tacked on RBIs in the inning as the Red built a 5-2 lead.
Freshman Ali Tomlinson was on the mound for the Red and ensured that her team would not relinquish that lead. She pitched all seven inning, struck out 10, and allowed only three hits. Neither team scored after the fifth inning.
Yesterday, the Red erased any possible doubt about who the best team on the field was. Cornell won both of its games by invoking the mercy rule.
In Game 1, Cornell scored in every inning it played. In 32 official at bats, the Red totaled 19 hits. Red hitters also reached base on three walks and a hit by pitch.
Senior Jenna Campagnolo and leadoff hitter Devon March each hit a pair of home runs. Hare also a hit a home run, her third of the weekend. Campagnolo, March, Hare each had three hits in the game. Cornell held a 15-7 lead when the game was called because of the mercy rule.
The second game brought more of the same for the Red. Cornell jumped on Columbia with a seven-run first inning and did not relent. The Red scored at least three runs in each of the first four innings and that trend may have continued if not for the mercy rule, which ended the game in the middle of the fifth inning.
Campagnolo and Garvey each hit a home run, as did junior Jess Berkey. As a team, the Red batted .645 in the game. The final score was Cornell 16, Columbia 1.
Tomlinson was dominant on the mound once again. She pitched a complete game and only allowed a run because of an error she made in the field.
On the weekend, the Red won its four games by a total of 34 runs despite the fact that three of the games were cut short by the mercy rule. Cornell now has five different batters hitting .389 or better in at least 90 at bats. Opposing hitters are batting a combined .211 on the season.
“It’s all part of the game,” March said when asked if she had sympathy for Columbia. “I’m sure it was hard for them, but at the same time we’re here to do our job and our job is to score runs and win games.”
The team finished the weekend with a 15-1 record in conference play. Princeton finally lost a game against an Ancient Eight foe when it fell at the hands of Penn yesterday afternoon.
The Red and the Tigers are now tied for the best record in the Ivy League and will play the Red four times next weekend, two games apiece at each team’s home field.
Whichever team has more success next weekend will win the Ivy League title and a automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs.