The Harvard softball team’s double header against Boston College yesterday brought the end of an 11-game winning streak. After playing some of its best softball recently, including a four-game sweep of Yale last weekend, the Crimson (18-17, 9-3 Ivy) dropped both games against the Eagles (23-24) 6-4 and 5-3.
Inconsistency, in hitting and pitching, against a strong Boston College team spelled the end of the streak for Harvard.
“We didn’t keep the offensive pressure on every minute…we just kind of went up and down,” head coach Jenny Allard said. “BC is a tough team. If you miss your pitches they are going to hit them. Give BC a lot of credit they really swung the bats well.”
“We were definitely on a roll and today was a bump in the road for us,” captain Shelly Madick added. “I think this sort of woke us up to the level of play we need to be at right now if we want to win a championship.”
BOSTON COLLEGE 6, HARVARD 4
The second game at Solider’s Field was a dramatic affair. Boston College was the first to cross the plate with two runs in the opening frame. Those were the only two runs that Harvard starting pitcher Bailey Vertovez gave up.
The Crimson scored all of its runs in a four-run fifth inning. But the Eagles didn’t take long to respond. Boston College got their first two batters on base to start the sixth inning.
With two on and no one out Allard sent Madick to the circle to replace sophomre Margaux Black in an effort to stop the momentum swing. Madick, though, walked the first batter she faced to load the bases. The next hitter blasted a grand slam over the fences to spoil the Crimson’s lead.
“It was a rise ball that wasn’t out of the zone enough,” Allard said. “She got on top of it and hit it out. She was a very good hitter.”
Harvard manufactured its runs playing small ball and steadily moving runners. Vertovez bunted to start the fifth inning, sophomore Stephanine Krysiak added a single to left, and freshman Emily Henderson loaded the bases with a bunt back to the pitcher. The next batter, freshmen Ellen Macadam, was hit by a pitch which scored Vertovez. Junior Hayley Bock followed that with an RBI ground out. Two batters later ,sophomore Jessica Pledger cracked a single to center that brought the Crimson’s final two runs home.
“Jess Pledger came up with a huge pinch-hit in the second game,” Allard said. “We had some bright spots in both games but we need to put it all together.”
BOSTON COLLEGE 5, HARVARD 3
Trailing 5-1 heading into its final at bat Harvard had some distance to make up. The inning began well enough when Bowers got on base with a single to left center. Krysiak then reached on an error, and a fielder’s choice put runners at second and third.
That brought Bock, who is steadily building a reputation as the Crimson’s clutch hitter, to the plate with two outs. This time she didn’t disappoint. A single to right field scored both runners and narrowed the gap to two runs.
That was the best the Crimson could do though, as the next batter, Pledger, smacked a routine out to second.
Harvard scored its only other run in the first. Henderson, the lead off hitter, got on base with a single. The speedy freshman then stole second and classmate Macadam’s single up the middle was enough for Henderson to score.
Sophomore Dana Roberts and Madick split the pitching responsibilities with Roberts going the first four innings and Madick taking over for the last three. Neither thrower kept Boston College off the board.
The Eagles, who never really had a breakout inning, built their lead slowly throughout the game. They tallied a run in each of the first three innings and then padded their lead in the seventh. The final two runs turned out to be the winning margin.
“They came out aggressive, they came out swinging,” Allard said of Boston College. “We weren’t real sharp on the mound today. I think them jumping on pitchers early definitely helped them take some momentum early.”
—Staff writer Julia R. Senior can be reached at email@example.com.