Diving catches as the ball moves deep into foul territory.
Three hits out of the park.
Good, solid pitching.
A Division II opponent.
Usually, those elements translate into a dominating performance by a Harvard softball team.
But yesterday, in Harvard's doubleheader against Bryant, they were a part of a luke warm at best performance by the 3-11 Crimson. The team could muster only a split against Bryant, winning the first game, 5-4, and dropping the second, 9-6.
In the first game, Harvard's star was undoubtedly junior Elizabeth Walker, Harvard's starting pitcher. In addition to faring well on the mound--she issued only one walk, while striking out two in the game--Walker proved mighty with the stick. She led off the second inning batters with an outside-of-the-park home-run, breaking the 1-1 first inning tie.
"My arm has been bothering me a little, but it loosened up as the game went on," she said. "It helped being out in our own field."
Sophomore Danielle Feinberg followed Walker's hitting example. In the third inning, she parked the ball on the Kansas side of the fence for a two-run homer. The bat connections continued into the fifth inning when yet another home run trot was made by senior Christine Vogt, bringing the score to 5-1.
Bryant would not relent, however. In the last inning the squad staged a dramatic comeback, scoring three runs to bring the margin to one, 5-4.
But the Crimson was saved with the late-game heroics of sophomore shortstop Amy Reinhard. In the bottom of the seventh with two out, a 5-4 score and another Bryant run imminent, Reinhard made a dramatic diving catch well past the third-base foul line to truncate Bryant's efforts.
Unfortunately for the Crimson, though, the momentum of the first game was not carried over into the second contest.
With Crimson junior Jana Meader on the mound, Harvard pulled ahead 5-1 early in the game, but again Bryant stormed back, this time to take the game.
Taking advantage of some good hitting and a number of Harvard defensive errors, Bryant went up 6-5 in the top of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Harvard tied the score but was unable to hold on. Bryant surged ahead to a 9-6 victory.
"We basically beat ourselves," Vogt said. "Jana [Meader `95] pitched great. We just weren't hitting well and were committing lots of errors."
After the Bryant split and a swing to Hawaii over spring break where the Crimson could post only a 2-8 record, senior captain Nancy Johnson remains confident.
"We went up against some pretty tough competition in Hawaii," she said. "Basically, they are at a level that we're just not used to seeing this early in the season."
Whether conditions on the East Coast allowed the team only one practice on an outside field before heading to Hawaii.
Indoor practices at Briggs Cage and the ITT weren't enough to prepare for the Crimson for Hawaii Pacific, Hawaii-Hilo and CSU-Stanilaus, the teams which defeated Harvard on its spring tour.
In fact, if it hadn't been for tiny Chaminade, Harvard would have gone winless. The Crimson beat the school renowned in the sports world for its once-in-a-decade super upset in men's basketball 4-3 and 9-4 during the Kona Softball Classic tournament to finish in fourth place out of five teams.
Starring for the Crimson in the tournament was freshman Katina Lee, who was busy on the trip snagging balls at third base and warming up home plate with her hitting.
In her debut college performance, Lee homered against Hawaii-Pacific in three at-bats and went on to have back-to-back three-hit games during the trip. The freshman made the Ivy League Honor Roll for her performance; she went .367(11-30) with one home run and two RBI's in ten games for the week.