After completing three games within 24 hours, the first-year Harvard softball team walked away from Webster Field yesterday afternoon with a 2-2 season record and a little more confidence in its ability to compete on the varsity level.
Saturday afternoon's contest with Brandeis would have reassured even the most insecure squad, as the Crimson annihilated its opposition, 34-6. The nine, which beat the Judges by only one-run margins the last two times the teams faced one another, collected 25 hits during the afternoon, but stranded only two baserunners.
Coach Kit Morris lifted his starters from the game in the third inning, at which point 25 of his players had already crossed home plate.
"We tried as hard as we could not to embarrass them." Morris said, after admitting that he deliberately curtailed his squad's offensive production by holding up baserunners and refusing to allow them to advance even on passed balls.
A little less impressive but equally encouraging was the softballers' performance in their Sunday afternoon doubleheader against the University of Maine.
The Black Bears were the nine's first bona fide competition of the season (in its opener, the Crimson downed MIT, 16-5), and although it lost both ends of the twinbill, 5-4 and 11-8, Morris lauded his team for demonstrating an ability to come back after the Main squad had established sizeable leads.
Down 5-0 after six innings in the first game, the Crimson rallied for four runs, three coming on left fielder Elaine Holpuch's first homer of the season.
With two outs in the seventh and final inning, the squad threatened again. Shortstop Lisa "Mouse" Bernstein and third baseman Pat Horne singled bringing Holpuch to the plate. But Maine pitcher Nancy Scostak, the recipient of her school's first and only softball scholarship, proved her worth by inducing the Crimson slugger to fly out to left, ending the game.
In the second game of the afternoon, starting pitcher Karen Pelletier, the winner of the Brandeis, game, surrendered six runs in the first inning, when the usually steady defensive unit behind her committed seven errors.
Going into the bottom of the seventh, the score stood at 11-4, but a two-run homer by Horne, a Holpuch triple, and a single by first sacker Mariene Schools and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Betty Ippolito produced four runs before the Bears recorded the final out of the game.
In addition to the hard-hitting Maine batters and the ever-present threat of a late-afternoon downpour, the Crimson had to contend with some questionable officiating during yesterday's twinbill. In both games, the umpires called apparently safe Harvard baserunners out at second and the strike zone was more suited to Nancy Lopez-Melton's swing than that of an intercollegiate softball player.
But as third base coach Rich Reid pointed out. "We can't blame the officials for the losses, because we should have been hitting better and earlier."
Morris also refused to make excuses for his squad, saying. "If the officiating wasn't good, it was definitely unbiased."