April 4, 2010

Softball Wins Three Out of Four in Ivy League Opening Series

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This past weekend, the softball team opened Ivy League play on its home diamond looking to defend the title it won last season. With a doubleheader sweep of Dartmouth on Friday, and a split of Saturday’s games against Harvard, Cornell (15-8, 3-1 Ivy) added three more wins to its season total.

The weekend’s success was nothing short of exhilarating for the Red.

“We were really excited about the weekend,” said senior third baseman Elise Menaker. “It was nice to be at home, with our home crowd, and especially with the beautiful weather.”

“[This weekend] was definitely exciting,” said senior shortstop Alyson Intihar. “It put us in a great starting position, and gave us a lot of momentum.”

In the first game against Dartmouth (3-17, 2-2 Ivy), Cornell immediately scored three unearned runs in the first inning and followed up with two runs in the fifth to solidify the 5-2 victory. Junior pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple had a dominant performance for the Red, striking out fourteen hitters and allowing only six runners on base.

The second game against Dartmouth turned out to be more closely matched, as the Green was able to tie up the score at three in the fifth inning of the matchup. However, sophomore second baseman Erin Keene slammed a two-run homer in the sixth inning, to earn the 5-3 victory for the Red and complete the weekend sweep of the Green.

“This weekend we had a lot of key players come in at good times to get clutch hits,” Menaker said. “It’s great to see us coming together at important times.”

In the initial game, the Red surged to a 5-0 lead within four innings and although the Crimson answered with four runs, the Red managed to cross home plate three more times before the contest was over. Sophomore catcher Erica Gaeta and junior pitcher Ali Tomlinson both came through for the Red with crucial home runs, earning themselves two RBI’s each.

The second Harvard game started differently, as the Crimson earned three runs right away, forcing the home team to rally in order to take the lead. Even though Cornell was leading 6-3 in the third inning, Harvard was able to score four more times, and the Red could never recover the 7-6 deficit to earn its first Ivy loss of the season. “In that game, it was pretty much a battle of the bats, and Harvard just came out on top,” Intihar said. “Really, anybody could have won that one.”

However, by no means does the single loss diminish the Red’s accomplishment this weekend. Menaker acknowledged that both opponents were tough competition and that the Red should be proud of the weekend’s outcome.

“The overall challenge of the Ivies is the intensity when you start playing, because everything is important and can impact your season,” she said. “These were some of the best teams in the league…I think we played some tough defense against them.”

But Intihar emphasized that there is always room for improvement, and that the Red has its sights set high this season.

“We definitely still have some pieces of the puzzle to put together,” she said. “Once everyone is able to figure out their role, we’ll be in good shape.”

Original Author: Hannah Fillas