Hit first and hit hard.
That was the fight strategy of the Harvard's softball team as it traveled up to Hanover over the weekend to take on the Big Green of Dartmouth.
In a season of trial and turmoil the Crimson (18-25 overall, 4-6 in the Ivies) went out on a high note Saturday afternoon in Hanover, sacking Dartmouth 17-1 in game one and 10-0 in game two.
The Big Green squad, currently a club team which expects to join the ranks of varsity line-ups next year, proved to be a meek opponent for Harvard. The Crimson, which has come on strong in recent games (winning six of the last seven), took control of the game from the initial pitch. In the first inning alone, Harvard managed to go through its entire batting order and take a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Crimson continued with a steady flow of runs until the game was ended in the fifth by the eightrun mercy rule.
With junior Elizabeth Walker on the mound for the Crimson it was all Dartmouth could hope for to get a word in edgewise on the game. The Big Green managed to eek in its only run of the day in the fourth inning, but the paltry effort was hardly enough to stall the Crimson.
The story was repeated in game two, which Harvard won 10-0 in six innings.
Jana Meader took over at the mound and pitched a stunning threehit, two-walk game. Game two was also highlighted by a Katina Lee home run, her second of the day and fourth in Ivy League play.
"They were a club team," captain Nancy Johnson said, "and they just weren't quite up to the varsity level. We were also playing really strong."
Although the Crimson has floundered somewhat this season, finishing with a .419 win percentage, the team has come on strong in recent weeks, rounding out the season with a fourgame winning streak.
"We played really solid ball at the end of the season," senior Nicole Desharnais said. "We turned some things around from the middle of the season on. We were hitting a lot better and committing fewer errors."
Crimson senior hitters Christine Vogt and Ann Kennon finished off in the top seven Ivy League swingers with .375 and .370 batting averages, respectively.
Amy Reinhard and Katina Lee also ranked among the top Ivy offensive leaders. Reinhard fell within the top ten in runs, hits and RBIs, while Lee was on top of the league with four homeruns.
"Our record wasn't really indicative of the talent we had on our team," Walker said. "Player for player this was one of the best teams I've been on. [The record] is not very telling of our caliber of play."
Harvard finished fourth in the Ivy league and under .500 for the first time in three years, but the team's spirit remained high until the end.
"It was just a great team to be on. We really gelled as a group," senior Christine Vogt said. "The season went by fast and it's sad to see it end. I think we all had a lot of fun this year and that's all that matters."
Princeton landed on top of the league once again this year. The season with a pristine 10-0 league record. They were followed by Yale (8-2) and Brown (5-5).