Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

Senior catcher Celia Macari had three RBIs in softball's series against Princeton.

April 19, 2023

Softball Splits Series with Colgate, Wins One of Three Against Princeton

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Last Wednesday, softball (11-20, 4-8 Ivy) was intent on besting Colgate (16-23, 5-4 Patriot League) in a doubleheader in Hamilton, New York. The Raiders was determined to improve on its 5-8 home record against the Red.

Colgate scored the first run of the game when a double to center field scored the leadoff hitter from second base in the bottom of the first. However, the Cornell defense made sure that the game remained a close one with only one fielding error being committed in the bottom of the fourth.

This 1-0 lead for the Raiders was erased in the top of the sixth when freshman outfielder Sydney Stapf, who head coach Julie Farlow ’97 described as a “level-headed, cerebral …and very clam player that tries to learn everyday,” had a single that allowed sophomore infielder Emma Antich and freshman outfielder Kate Callaway to score.

Later in the inning, freshman designated player Lauren Holt hit a grand slam to open up the game. This shot drove in senior outfielder Julie Hilcken, Stapf and senior catcher Celia Macari. A sacrifice fly from Macari enabled Callaway to score her second run of the game in the following inning, which proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Raiders as the Red won, 7-1.

The second game, similar to the preceding one, saw Colgate take an early advantage in the bottom of the first inning, when a double drove in the team’s leadoff hitter. The Raiders added another run when a walk during a bases-loaded situation forced in a run.

In the bottom of the second, an RBI triple increased the Raiders’ lead. Colgate tacked on two more runs in the second off an RBI double and RBI single in consecutive at-bats. Colgate added a sixth unanswered run in the third when an error from the Red’s catcher enabled the runner at third to score a run.

After one scoreless inning, the Red got on the board in the top of the fifth when a sacrifice fly from Antich drove in Callaway. The Raiders retaliated in the bottom of the sixth with two more runs off an RBI double and RBI single.

In the top of the seventh, Callaway advanced to first base via a fielding error by the Colgate first baseman, and a two-run homer from Antich gave the Red life. However, the Raiders’ fielding was crucial in spoiling Cornell’s plan of a comeback, and Colgate secured an 8-3 victory.

On Saturday, the Red hosted Princeton (19-15, 12-3 Ivy), the reigning Ivy League champions. This thriller started with three scoreless innings until the Tigers drew first blood with a one-run single. Princeton tacked on to its lead in the subsequent at-bat with a two-run home run.

The Tigers tripled this 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Princeton recorded six hits in the inning, including an RBI single, an RBI double and two two-run doubles. A caught pop-up ended the top of the fifth, but the Tigers led, 9-0.

Farlow emphasized how staying calm and competitive is necessary in order to surmount the comeback wins that the Red has been known for this season.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Red needed two or more runs to avoid the run-ahead rule that would have otherwise ended the game. Back-to-back errors from the Princeton pitcher and shortstop allowed Holt, freshman infielder Ella Harrod and Hilcken to score enough runs to stay alive in the game.

Fortune continued to favor the Red in the bottom of the sixth when Macari scored on a wild pitch. Princeton was able to extend the lead to 10-4 in the top of the seventh with an RBI single.

The bottom of the seventh started with a hit by pitch and error that allowed senior infielder Maicie Levitt and Antich respectively to get on base. A Macari single advanced Antich to third base and scored Levitt.

Junior outfielder Marisa Zorrilla pinch-ran for Macari, and the Red executed a double steal with Zorilla stealing second base and Antich scoring. Zorrilla is 5-for-5 this season in stolen base attempts and also leads the Red in stolen bases alongside Callaway. Antich is 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts.

With two on base, Hilcken crushed a three-run home run to cut the Tigers’ lead to 10-9. After Harrod reached first base on an error by the Princeton second baseman, a ground out in the next at-bat ended the game as the Tigers escaped with a 10-9 victory.

In the second game, Princeton opened the scoreline with a two-run double. A groundout in the following at-bat scored a third run in the top of the first.

Fueled by the near-comeback in the previous game, Cornell matched Princeton with three runs in the bottom of the first. Stapf drew a bases-loaded walk before an error by the second baseman allowed Holt to reach first, driving in Antich and Macari.

After senior pitcher Mia Burd struck out a batter and the Red fielding halted a runners-at-the-corners situation in the top of the second, an Antich two-bagger in the bottom of the second gave Cornell the lead for the first time in the series. The Red expanded its lead in the fourth inning with an RBI single from Levitt.

The Tigers cut into the Red’s lead in the fifth when a pop-up enabled the runner on third base to score. Princeton added another run with an RBI double in the sixth inning.

However, this same inning witnessed a barrage of Cornell runs. The Red tallied five hits, including an RBI single and two RBI doubles. A sac fly scored the fourth run of the inning, giving Cornell a 10-5 lead heading to the seventh.

Princeton responded with four runs of its own in the top of the seventh. However, the Tigers failed to tie the game, and the Red came away with a 10-9 win of its own.

The rubber match on Sunday saw Cornell jump out to a lead for the first time in the series on an RBI single from Antich in the bottom of the first. However, the Tigers rallied for three runs in the top of the third.

A sac fly to center field drove in the runner on third base. Three batters later, the baserunner on third scored on a wild pitch. A one-run single in the same at-bat increased the Tigers’ lead to 3-1.

After Princeton extended the scoreline 4-1 in the top of fifth from an RBI single, the Red once again needed to mount a comeback. Cornell got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run from Macari.

In the bottom of the sixth, Cornell responded to the Tigers’ RBI single in the top of the inning with a home run from Holt, who currently leads the Ivy League in home runs with seven. After holding Princeton scoreless in the seventh inning, the Red was given one more chance to tie or win the game.

Callaway hit a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Two at-bats later, Macari walked and Zorrilla pinch-ran for her. However, the Red was unable to score, and the Tigers won, 5-3.

The Red will resume Ivy League play on ESPN+ in a three-game series in New York City against Columbia (13-19, 8-7 Ivy). The doubleheader on Saturday, April 22 will commence at 12:30 p.m., and the third game will be on Sunday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m.

Sean Cabrera is a Sun staff writer. He can be reached at [email protected].