The Harvard softball pitching staff entered the bottom of the seventh yesterday with a no-hitter going. Only one problem--the Smith pitching staff was countering with a shutout.
The Crimson eventually prevailed, 2-0, to pick up its first victory of the season, but not before running one Yardling through a nerve-wracking initiation.
First, Smith's lead-off batter in the seventh rapped a single to center field. Two outs and two errors later, the hosts had the bases loaded against Harvard pitcher Lee Polikoff.
And Polikoff, the only freshman on the Crimson squad, had never seen varsity action before Harvard's trip to Northampton.
She didn't let her greenness show. After running the count to 2-1, Polikoff-who had come on in relief of veterans Lora Rowing and Janet Dickerman-retired the Smith batter on a fly ball to centerfield.
"Lee has been a real surprise," Crimson Coach John Wentzell said. "She really showed some toughness out there."
"I was kind of nervous," said Polikoff. "I just used one pitch and tried to keep it low. It wasn't a great way to get broken into the pitching staff."
Harvard countered in the top of the eight with an offensive threat of its own. Sharon Hayes, who went 3-for-4 on the day, doubled to right field with one out. After Trisha Brown and Elizabeth both reached base, Gia Barresi knocked in the game-winning run with a fielder's choice.
Nancy Prior added an insurance tally with a sacrifice fly to center--and Polikoff wrapped it up by blanking the hosts in the bottom half of the frame.
The Crimson's first games of the season, against Vermont and Providence, were rained out. This means that on Ivy rivals Penn and Princeton this weekend at Soldiers Field.
"Our pitching was fine, but our hitting was rusty," Wentzell said. "There were lots of lazy fly balls where there should have been line drives. Realistically Smith is not Princeton, is not Penn, is not Brown. We're going to have to do better this weekend."
Wentzell said that the Tigers figure to be the Crimson's toughest Ivy opposition this year. Last season, Harvard finished 3-5 in the Ivies (15-9 overall).
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