April 20, 2009

Softball Locks Up First Place in Ivy South

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With three wins over Columbia this weekend, the softball team has already wrapped up the Ivy League South Division crown. Cornell still has two doubleheaders with second-place Princeton (8-8) next weekend, but at 13-3, Cornell has a five-game lead and the divisional crown for the first time since the Ivy League switched to a two-division format in 2007.
“It’s amazing,” said sophomore pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple. “When we found out today [that we won the division] it was just an incredible feeling. We’re so happy for the seniors who’ve been working for four years.”
But the Red will still have a showdown with the winner of the North Division to determine the Ivy League Champion and who will take a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Either Harvard (10-6) or Dartmouth (11-5) will capture the title after the two teams face off with each other this weekend for a four-game set. Cornell last won the Ivy League title in 2005.[img_assist|nid=37014|title=Fan machine|desc=Sophomore pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple struck out 15 Columbia batters in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader to break a Red single-game school record.|link=node|align=right|width=|height=0]
“We haven’t won Ivies yet, but to win the division for the first time [since its inception] is so exciting,” Dalrymple said. “We’ve been working so hard together all season and to finally have it pay off is just…awesome.”
Cornell (34-10, 13-3 Ivy) got rolling right out of the gates, putting together three runs in the top of the first in Game 1. Junior Devon March walked before junior Elise Menaker doubled to bring her in for the first run. Senior Meg Risica homered to bring the score to 3-0 over the Lions (13-29, 3-13).
After that, it was the Dalrymple Show for Cornell. The sophomore threw a complete game, allowing just two hits while walking none and striking out a Cornell-record 15 batters.
“It was really exciting,” Dalrymple said. “I felt like I had finally reached my potential as a pitcher this season. There is always something to work for, and this was it.”
The record for strikeouts in a game was previously 14, set by sophomore Ali Tomlinson last season.
“[Tomlinson and I] joked about it,” Dalrymple said. “It’s cool for us to both have those two games early in our careers. But even though it was really cool to get the record and it was an exciting game, the more important thing is that we won the game.”
After adding on two more runs in the sixth and another in the seventh, Cornell ended Game 1 with a 6-0 victory. Game 2 was the Red’s one hiccup on the weekend, as Tomlinson got beat-up for an 8-2 loss.
Cornell came right back during Sunday’s games, however, grabbing an 8-0 victory followed by a 14-2 run-parade to secure the Ivy League South Division title.
Mimicking the opening to Game 1, Cornell opened Game 3 with another three runs in the top of the first to provide Dalrymple with early run support.
“It gives you, as a pitcher, a sense of confidence and reassurance that you’re already ahead,” Dalrymple said. “The offense set the tone. Our lineup is incredible, and they score so many runs for us. Scoring those runs gives me confidence, knowing that we already have our foot in the door.”
And after that, Dalrymple slammed the door on the Lions yet again, throwing another complete-game shutout. She gave up only two hits over five innings while striking out three. With the win, Dalrymple advanced to 15-3 with a 1.25 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 112.1 innings, all team-highs.
Tomlinson followed that up with her 13th win of the year in Game 4, throwing a complete-game with nine strikeouts and just one earned run. The only earned run was a solo homer from junior Dani Pineda. Pineda had also doubled to bring in the Lions’ other run in the first inning, an unearned run after a Cornell error.
At the plate, Cornell’s league-leading offense got production from every part of the lineup all weekend long. Junior Ashley Garvey improved on her team–high .414 average with a 7-for-13 weekend, including three doubles and a homer to total six RBIs. Garvey leads the Ivy League in hits, RBIs and total bases.
Risica and senior Jessy Berkey each had two homers on the weekend, Berkey improving on her Ivy League lead in the category to 10 on the season. Junior leadoff hitter Alyson Intihar also improved on her league lead in runs with four more this weekend.
Over the four games, the Red had 43 hits, 30 runs, 21 extra-base hits, and six homers while giving up 12 hits, 10 runs, five extra-base hits and two home runs.