The sweep of the Tigers capped off a weekend that saw the Crimson open its season 4-0, sweeping both Penn and two-time defending Ivy champ Princeton.
HARVARD 2, PRINCETON 1
After 19 innings of scoreless softball, the Tigers attacked in the top of the 20th. Junior catcher Ty Ries smashed a single up the middle, but was then thrown out on a fielder’s choice during the following at-bat by junior Kristin Lueke. Lueke then stole second to put herself in scoring position.
A flustered co-captain Kara Brotemarkle walked senior Wendy Bingham to put a runner on first and second.
With just one out, freshman Stephanie Steel belted a hit to centerfield for an RBI double as Princeton took a 1-0 lead.
“I knew it wasn’t over,” Brotemarkle said. “If I had thought that, I would have given up more that just that one.”
Co-captain second baseman Sara Williamson helped hold the defense together to get the Crimson out of the inning. She caught junior Melissa inley’s popup and snagged a line drive from the bat of sophomore pitcher Erin Snyder to put an end to the threat.
After giving up a single, a double, a walk and a steal, the Crimson found itself down by just one run. But it had been held scoreless for 20 innings and had endured six straight innings’ worth of missed scoring opportunities.
As it turned out, a little roar from the Tigers was all the Crimson needed to find its own offense before a season-high attendance of over 200.
“When we met in the middle of the circle [in the top of the 20th] the consensus was ‘We were going to have to score anyway, so we might as well score this inning,’” Williamson said.
The comeback got off slowly, as freshman right fielder Julia Kidder led off with a popup.
With one out, junior left fielder Lauren Stefanchik reached base on an error by Tiger first baseman senior Kristin Del Calvo.
Stefanchik, who led the Ivy League in steals last season, safely stole second to get into scoring position.
Junior Cecily Gordon’s popup did not clear the infield, and Stefanchik was left on second with two outs.
But the Crimson, which has seen itself on the short side of one-run games too many times this season, was not to be denied.