Winter’s browns and greys still predominate here in Ithaca, even as temperatures tick upwards. Meanwhile, several hundred miles to the south in Fairfax, Virginia, late March means springtime. And what is the color of spring? Carnelian.
Cornell softball is one of five teams competing in the 2016 Mason Cherry Blossom Classic this weekend at host George Mason. The Red (0-8) will face St. Francis (12-12) on Friday and Saturday afternoon, George Mason (8-9) Friday evening, Georgetown (5-16) Saturday morning and Canisius (4-16) Sunday morning.
The Red — still looking for its first victory of the season — faced St. Francis three times this past weekend. The Red dropped all three of those games and will have to face the Red Flash twice in this weekend’s tournament. Cornell head coach Julie Farlow ’97 emphasized that facing St. Francis again is not necessarily a bad thing.
“We’re pretty familiar with them,” she said. “We know that their hitters are dangerous. Our pitchers will try to give them a different look [and] our batters will be comfortable and more confident.”
Red senior outfielder and pitcher Meg Parker agrees that knowing St. Francis well means knowing what it takes to beat them.
“They’re definitely a beatable team,” she said. “We’ve seen all their pitchers [and] we’ve seen their hitters.”
The Red has played the other three teams in the tournament in recent seasons. Parker said that this means the Red will be facing familiar lineups.
“They’re all good competition,” Farlow said. Also — because of Ivy League rules — these teams will also all have played slightly more games thus far.
According to Farlow, part of this weekend’s focus is to build toward league competition later in the spring.
“All of these games are good preparations for our Ivy games,” she said.
The Red also wants to end its losing streak.
“We’re so ready to get a W, it’s crazy,” Parker said. “It’s still possible [to have a winning record after the 50-game season is over]. [We] must … have a short-term memory.”
Farlow described how Cornell’s three pitchers have been putting in a lot of work prior to this weekend in order to produce more consistent results.
“Pitchers are [focusing on] being more consistent and better at hitting their spots,” she said. “Our pitchers are going to try to work ahead in the count.”
“The pitchers are working on throwing more strikes,” Parker added.
Offensively, the Red have had a relatively strong start, and Farlow is confident that this solid performance will continue.
“As long as they stay aggressive, they’ll be okay,” Farlow said.
Playing five games in one weekend is one more than normal, but players don’t think fatigue will be a problem. Parker actually sees this crowded game schedule as a benefit.
“It works to our benefit when we get to Ivy season,” she said.
Unlike baseball, Parker described how pitch counts and inning limits are not an issue in softball. She said that sharing five games with two other pitchers is not that big of a deal.
“If they’re pitching well, it’s not a concern,” Farlow agreed. “[If not], it makes [the other team’s] at bats that more productive.”
Farlow emphasized that the bigger concern will be finding time to rest for several hours between each of the team’s doubleheaders.
“When you play back-to-back, it’s easier to get your stamina up,” she said.
In general, Parker and Farlow said they are looking forward to the weekend’s games.
“George Mason is a familiar place for us,” Parker said. “The weather should be kind of nice, and it’s a new weekend.”