While the Crimson offense was shutdown in the opener of a two-game set against Cornell yesterday, sophomore Shelly Madick combined with classmate Amanda Watkins to give up only three runs.
The Harvard softball team opened its Ivy League season yesterday, a day later than was originally planned. Saturday’s doubleheader against Columbia was rained out, and the team had to travel to Ithaca to face Cornell for its first Ivy match-up.
The Crimson notched consecutive strong performances against the Big Red, a perennial Ivy favorite, but was unable to generate enough runs to garner a win. In the first game of the doubleheader, Harvard lost 3-0 and, despite a strong start, the team fell again in the second game, losing 8-5.
“Cornell is a very strong team offensively,” head coach Jenny Allard said. “We were prepared to face them and were able to get base-runners, but we didn’t get key hits.”
CORNELL 8, HARVARD 5
In the second game of the twinbill, the Crimson came out strong. Junior co-captain Julia Kidder hit an RBI single in the first inning and freshman Bailey Vertovez did the same in the second. Harvard had a 2-0 lead going into the third inning.
However, Cornell was able to fight back and tie the score at two in the bottom of the third inning. After that, the Big Red was able to secure at least one run every half inning—including another two in the fourth and three in the fifth.
Harvard’s last chance to catch up to Cornell was in the top of the seventh inning, when the Crimson was down 8-3. Harvard strung together a few hits and knocked in two runs. The first came off a single by Vertovez and the second resulted from a sacrifice fly by senior Erin Halpenny. Cornell pitcher Jenn Meunier, who struck out one and allowed no hits in her inning of relief, stopped the rally.
Freshman pitcher Bailey Vertovez, who had notched 11 strikeouts and recorded her fourth win on Thursday, started yesterday’s game, pitching 3.1 innings. She allowed four runs on six hits, striking out one.
Sophomore Amanda Watkins, who also pitched two innings in the first game yesterday, came in to relieve Vertovez. She allowed three runs in the fifth and struck out one.
Freshman Jade Reichling had another strong performance, going 2-for-3 and scoring twice.
CORNELL 3, HARVARD 0
In the Crimson’s first game against the Big Red yesterday, Meunier proved to be unstoppable. She pitched the entire game, allowing only four Harvard hits.
Sophomores Shelly Madick and Amanda Watkins, who regularly split time on the mound last season, combined for seven strikeouts and only allowed three runs off five hits.
“Shelly and Amanda have shown great improvement over last year,” Allard said. “They combined for a good performance against Cornell.”
Madick, whose record is now 5-3 this season, started the game, pitching the first four innings. She allowed only two runs—both the result of home runs.
Aside from that, she only allowed two additional hits during her outing. Watkins finished the game with a solid two-inning performance, allowing only one hit and no earned runs.
She struck out the first batter she faced, Samantha Hare, but the ball got away from catcher Halpenny and Hare was able to reach first base. As the result of a series of wild pitches and passed balls, Hare circled the bases to bring the score to 3-0, where it would stay for the rest of the afternoon.
The team’s freshmen accounted for half of the Crimson hits—both Hayley Bock and Jade Reichling went 1-for-3. Juniors Lauren Brown and Julia Kidder both went 1-for-2.
“We’re getting tougher on defense,” Allard said, “but we just need to string hits together.”
The Crimson will continue its Ivy season today in New York against Columbia.
Harvard will play a doubleheader to make up the games that were rained out on Saturday. Despite yesterday’s losses, the team is optimistic that it can bounce back.
“We have all the tools we need to win both games,” Kidder said, “and that’s what we’re expecting to do.”
—Staff writer Elyse N. Hanson can be reached at email@example.com.