Title Hunt: Batswomen Split With Bears
Showdown Against Princeton Set for Tomorrow
It wasn't pretty, but it was just enough.
After losing to Brown 9-1 in the first game yesterday in Providence, R.I., the Harvard softball team managed to pull out a thrilling come-from-behind extra-inning 6-5 victory over the Bears to maintain its first-place standing in the Ivy League race.
The Crimson (14-13 overall, 5-1 Ivy) will play for the championship in a doubleheader against Princeton (4-1 Ivy) tomorrow at Soldiers Field. One win will clinch a tie for the title. Two wins will take it all.
"Our fate is still in our hands," said Coach Barry Haskell, who will try to lead Harvard to its first Ivy title. "We are right where we want to be."
For 13 innings yesterday, Harvard's control of its destiny appeared to be in danger.
Game one was a big blow to the Crimson. After capturing sole possession of first place last weekend, Harvard may have been too up for yesterday's games.
"We were overanxious in the first game," third baseman Beth Reilly said. "We were sky-high, psyched and ready to play, but we tried to go beyond ourselves, We actually had too much energy."
And nothing seemed to go right for the Crimson, as Brown smoked to a 9-1 win.
Harvard's spirits were not too high after the first game loss. And through six innings of the second game, the Crimson just could not get the bats rolling, and Brown staked out to a 3-1 lead.
The Crimson once again became the "Cardiac Kids" and started the kind of comeback which has pulled out so many wins for the squad this year.
Harvard registered four runs in the top of the seventh to take its first lead of the day. Liz Crowley's two-run base hit made the score, 5-3, and appeared to give the Crimson the "W".
But Brown sent the game into extra innings with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the seventh.
Rachel Donaldson drove home the winning run in the eighth.
Brown threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but Wambach threw out the potential tying run with a perfect throw to Co-Captain and catcher Nancy Prior. Prior collided with the Bear runner and remarkably held onto the ball. The game was effectively over. Harvard once again had pulled out a nail-biter.
"I think we gave the coach an ulcer," Wambach said.
But a win is a win is a win, and everything now boils down to tomorrow's games with Princeton.
"I am guardedly optimistic," Haskell said. "It's a great opportunity for our program. Harvard softball has never played for the Ivy title."
"We're going to be ready for Princeton, and we're going to try to have fun," he added.