The Harvard softball team (24-20,14-6 Ivy) travelled to Dartmouth (13-25, 9-11) yesterday for the second two games of a four-game series.
After losing both games in Saturday’s doubleheader the Crimson, having already clinched the Ivy North Division, regrouped to win both games yesterday, 5-2 and 4-2.
“Going into this weekend we obviously knew that we had clinched [the Ivy North] and I think we just needed to refocus ourselves,” captain Shelly Madick said. “Today we knew that we had to stay up every inning, put pressure on them every inning, and play a solid game against them.”
HARVARD 5, DARTMOUTH 2
In the second game of the day it was Dartmouth who crossed the plate first. With Harvard senior Amanda Watkins starting on the mound, the Big Green turned a one-out single into a run with another single, followed by a walk and then a sacrifice fly to left.
The Crimson did not wait long to respond.
In the second, senior Danielle Kerper got Harvard’s first hit of the game with a shot to right field. Two batters later junior Bailey Vertovez smacked her first home run of the year to give the Crimson a 2-1 lead.
Harvard tacked on an insurance run in the third when sophomore Jen Francis popped a sacrifice fly to left that scored freshman Ellen Macadam from third.
Dartmouth made a last surge for the win, trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh. With Madick pitching, Dartmouth put runners on first and second.
Then Madick hit a batter to load the bases with only one out. The ace showed her trademark poise, however, and got the final two batters to strike out looking.
“I could feel myself getting a little tense and I tried to breathe through it,” Madick said. “It was sort of good that they got some people on base to make me make my pitches when I need to make them. In some ways I was glad that I put myself through that and got out of it.”
HARVARD 4, DARTMOUTH 2
After two losses on Saturday the Crimson was in need of a boost. A three-run first to open play yesterday afternoon gave the team just that.
“I think it was pivotal to come out strong,” Harvard coach Jenny Allard said. “We had really good, focused at-bats and we started right away. I think we were motivated to put runs on the board early.”
Leadoff batter Emily Henderson cracked an infield single to start the game. The speedy freshman then stole second before Macadam knocked a single to center field to put runners at the corners. A fielder’s choice brought Henderson home, then Emily Bowers singled to left to score Macadam, and finally sophomore Melissa Schellberg hit a grounder to shortstop that allowed sophomore Jen Francis to cross the plate.
“I think the goal was to get little base hits,” Allard said. “They were playing us at the fences, so we were able to pop in some base hits, get more bunts...put more pressure on them defensively.”
Although Harvard tacked on another run in the seventh, the first inning provided all the runs it would need for the win, as three different pitchers kept the Dartmouth bats quiet.
Vertovez took the mound first, giving up two runs on four hits in 2.1 innings of work. Sophomore Margaux Black took over in the third and went three innings giving up no hits and no runs before sophomore Dana Roberts came in to get the final five outs, picking up her second save of the season.
“We made a decision to change up the pitchers earlier than we did the day before,” Allard said. “Basically nobody was going to be expected to go long in the game. If there was any sign of trouble...we were going to make a change.”
—Staff writer Julia R. Senior can be reached at email@example.com.