Courtesy of Cornell Athletics

Mistakes in the field hurt the team all weekend as the Red dropped all four games.

April 10, 2017

Softball Returns from Dartmouth, Harvard Winless in 4 Games

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The Red has been taking some hard hits this softball season and is now in the middle of an eight game losing streak. This past weekend brought four more Ivy League losses, dropping the team’s record to 1-7 in the conference and 6-17 overall.

According to head coach Julie Farlow ’97, the team’s current losing streak is not as unconquerable of an obstacle as one might think.

“When you start to struggle, what you’re looking for is a good practice, and when we’re travelling all week, we didn’t really have that opportunity,” she said. “We’re getting a couple days off … I think that’s going to help us going into Thursday [against Siena College], that we just refocus, get refreshed and, I keep on saying, let’s get this W and get some momentum going.”

In terms of momentum, this past weekend did not help. All four games against Dartmouth and Harvard were hard-fought, but relatively minor mistakes loomed large and left the Red winless.

The women’s first game of the weekend came against the Dartmouth, and the team was on the brink of pulling off one of the greatest upsets in recent memory. After trailing by seven through five innings, the Red rallied to score eight and take the lead. Ultimately, the Green pulled ahead once more to win the game 9-8.

Sophomore catcher Olivia Lam played a big role in Cornell’s comeback, hitting a grand slam that tied the game 7-7 before the Red drove in one more run to pull ahead.

“I’m really happy with how our team approached it,” she said. “We really fought hard until the end … so I think we handled it really well, and we showed that no matter how far behind we [were], we still pushed through to the end.”

While the effort may have been there, the same kind of offensive production was missing in the remaining games of the weekend.

After the threat of rain pushed the second Dartmouth game back to Sunday, Cornell matched up against Harvard looking to get back on track.

In the first game, Harvard raced ahead to take a 7-0 lead early on. Even with solid hitting from junior infielder Megan Murray, junior catcher Tori Tagashi and senior outfielder Jessica Bigbie, the women struggled to catch up to its opponent. The game ended as an 8-3 Harvard victory.

“We’re definitely capable hitters as a team,” Bigbie said. “I mean, everyone is definitely capable of doing great things, so it’s just about one person hitting and getting everyone else to jump on board and see that they can do it, too.”

The second game was harder for Cornell to swallow, as the team held onto the lead for much of the game until two fielding errors led to a five-run inning for Harvard. Cornell tied it up in the next inning, but Harvard rallied in the sixth with four runs, proving to be too much of a lead for the women to overcome.

“It’s little plays that … teams are building on, so it’s not like we’re really collapsing,” Farlow said in reference to the two errors. “It’s just that there’s a play that starts it, and the team gets momentum, and they keep riding it, and right now we’re just having a hard time saying ‘Okay that’s all you’re going to get’ and shutting the door.”

The weekend came to a close with the rescheduled game against Dartmouth on Sunday — a true pitcher’s duel throughout. It is during games like these that the smallest fielding errors or defensive gaffes can be exploited to win, and that is exactly what the Green managed to do after a Cornell error in the sixth inning. Dartmouth capitalized by scoring three runs to go up 3-0.

The last inning only featured one run from the Red — a homer from Murray, and the game ended in a 3-1 loss.

However, Farlow is insistent that the team will not let this losing streak bring its morale down. Historically, Cornell has been relatively successful against its next opponent, Siena College — winning two against them in the 2015-16 season.

“I like playing Siena; I think they’re a comparable opponent to get us prepared for what we see in conference games,” Farlow said. “They’re a team we can beat, and they’re a team that can beat us. … Hopefully we’ll be energized against them.”

First pitch is set for this Thursday at 3 p.m. in Ithaca.