April 26, 2011

Red Softball Gets the Ball Rolling, Takes Two Against Penn

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The bats woke up in a big way for the Red when Cornell (22-18-1, 9-5 Ivy League) swept a doubleheader against Penn (15-18-1, 6-8) on Friday afternoon at Ithaca College. Due to inclement weather, the second set of games originally scheduled for play yesterday was postponed until a date to be determined.

The two Ivy squads combined for In both games a total of 12 homeruns in Friday’s doubleheader. The first game ended after five innings in a rout, 10-2, in favor of Cornell. The second game required more theatrics as the Red came back to rally and win, 8-6. After not being able to back up some great pitching and defense earlier in the season, the offense started to get going in the midweek games against Colgate that led up to the action against the Quakers, with back-to-back shutout wins, 2-0 and 8-0.

“We started swinging the bats well in Colgate,” said senior tri-captain and two-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Year Elizabeth Dalrymple. “We jumped on [Penn’s] pitching early and kept it up the whole game.”

The offense came from the top of the batting order in the first game, as the first four Cornell hitters combined for a total of nine hits and six RBIs. This aggressive approach came when the Red needed it most against an Ivy League opponent that started the weekend right below it in the standings. Cornell needed the wins to separate itself from Penn in the Southern division with only two weeks left in the season.

“We really knew these games were important, so we buckled down and got to work,” said sophomore catcher Kristen Towne.

Even with this offensive outburst, the team also relied on solid pitching and defense until the offense could rally the Red to victory over the Quakers. In the first end of the doubleheader, Dalrymple pitched yet another complete game for her 22nd on the season, only giving up four hits and striking out 10. In the second game, Dalrymple and senior tri-captain Ali Tomlinson held Penn to four hits again but gave up a total of six runs. Tomlinson did damage at the plate with a solo homerun to tie the game and then added a go-ahead three-run shot to carry the Red to the win.

“Elizabeth [did] a great job, especially in the first game,” Towne noted. “She struck out a lot of hitters — the defense wants to help her out and we all want to help each other out.”

“The spark on offense carried into our defense,” Dalrymple added. “People came through to play great defense when it mattered most.”

Earlier in the season, Cornell had a habit of coming out strong in the first game to take the win, but would let game two slip due to missed opportunities. Over the weekend, the Red played consistently and was able to take both games in a sweep, according to Dalrymple.

“We found out winning game one doesn’t guarantee anything,” she said. “Unlike most sports, we play two games in one day and it requires us to focus mentally and have a lot of physical stamina.”

“We’ve just been able to keep our confidence and our focus through both games,” Towne said.

Last week’s midweek games sparked the Cornell offense against Penn, and the team hopes its midweek games against Ithaca College will serve to keep the momentum that it has built up with four straight wins.

“It’s key that when we get a chance to play, we stay sharp,” Dalrymple said. “We really came into our own last week against Colgate. We need to keep the momentum going into the next weekend, which will be big for us.”

The games will also serve to work on some more technical things for both pitchers and hitters while facing other teams.

“We will focus on taking more outside pitches,” Towne said. “We need to work on watching the ball and get in further to swing harder.”

Original Author: Wankyu Lee