Crimson Swept by Bulldogs in Sunday Twinbill

Comeback attempts too little too late, as Harvard offense can’t find rhythm

MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS
Meredith H. Keffer

Speedy sophomore Emily Henderson had four hits in the Crimson’s doubleheader against Yale yesterday afternoon.

Two late-inning rallies were not enough for the Harvard softball team yesterday, which was swept by its New Haven rival yesterday. In both games, the Crimson (19-12, 5-5 Ivy) mounted a seventh-inning comeback, but ultimately fell short. Yale (16-16, 5-5) defeated Harvard, 7-4, in the first game of the doubleheader, and the Bulldogs won the nightcap, 4-2, at a frigid Soldiers Field.

“In the seventh inning we started scoring some runs, but obviously we need to find the runs faster,” co-captain Hayley Bock said.

The games came on the heels of Saturday’s rainouts, also against Yale, which will be made up Tuesday at 2 p.m.

YALE 4, HARVARD 2

For the second consecutive game, Harvard headed into the last inning with an uphill battle to face. Her team trailing, 4-0, junior Melissa Schellberg, who is also a Crimson sports editor, led off the inning with a hard-hit ball down the third-base line. Junior Jennifer Francis followed with a triple, knocking in Schellberg and knocking out the Bulldog’s starting pitcher. The run was Harvard’s first of the game.

The situation got interesting when, with one out, sophomore Emily Henderson bunted home Francis to bring the Crimson to within two. Henderson—who had four hits on the day—was able to advance to second base on an overthrow. After sophomore Ellen Macadam grounded out to shortstop, power-hitting freshman Whitney Shaw—the team’s leader in batting average, home runs and runs batted in—stepped to the plate, representing the game’s tying run.

It appeared that Shaw would take first base on a hit-by-pitch, but the umpire ruled that Shaw did not attempt to avoid the pitch. Shaw flew out to left field to end the game.

“We are obviously pretty upset getting swept at home,” co-captain Bailey Vertovez said. “We’re in a rut. We’re not hitting. We need to hit, and it’s frustrating because we know we can do it.”

“We are going to take extra batting practice,” the shortstop continued. “This hasn’t been us. This hasn’t been our team.”

The Bulldogs were the first to put a run on the board, scoring on a dribbler up the first-base line in the second inning.

Junior starting pitcher Dana Roberts helped her own cause by fielding her position well. Roberts, on a comebacker to the mound, threw home to retire the unforced runner from third base that was trying to score.

It looked as if the Crimson might even up the score in the bottom of the frame, as junior Jessica Pledger, who is also a Crimson photographer, led off with a double. A bunt by Vertovez advanced Pledger to third base, but Harvard was unable to bring her around.

In the third inning, Yale loaded the bases with one out, which forced Roberts from the game. Coach Jenny Allard called upon junior right-handed pitcher Margaux Black to keep the Bulldogs at bay. But the first batter to face Black drove a single to right field, which knocked in two runs. The next Yale hitter followed with a single up the middle, scoring one. Junior centerfielder and Crimson sports editor Stephanie Krysiak’s strong throw home retired the second runner trying to score on the play.

YALE 7, HARVARD 4

In its first comeback attempt of the afternoon, Harvard tried to overcome a 7-1 deficit in the seventh inning. With one out in the frame, Pledger drove a double down the right-field line. Francis was next at the plate for Harvard, and the Bulldogs left fielder misplayed the ball, which allowed Francis to reach base safely and for freshman Jane Alexander, pinch-running for Pledger, to score.

Francis also came around to score on another error by the left fielder. The Crimson then loaded the bases—with still just one out—and Shaw was hit by a pitch to force in Harvard’s third run of the inning. The Crimson could not bring any more runners home, and Yale escaped its three-error seventh inning for the victory.

“We love to fight—we don’t want to roll over and die,” Vertovez said. “We want to get that energy to the beginning and middle of the game.”

Harvard had taken the early lead over its long-time foe, 1-0, in the third inning. But the Bulldogs had a prolific fourth, scoring seven runs on five hits and two Harvard errors. At one point in the inning, ten consecutive Yale players reached base safely. The seven runs were all Yale needed against Harvard, which left seven runners on base for the game.

Star freshman pitcher Rachel Brown—who was perfect for the first three innings—lasted 3.2 frames. She struck out five Bulldogs and allowed two earned runs. In 3.1 innings of relief work, freshman Marika Zumbro gave up no earned runs.

The Crimson players, who have failed to score a run in four of their past seven contests, are hopeful their bats will come alive when they play Yale again tomorrow.

“We are going to mentally prepare, play with confidence, and know we can get it done,” Bock said.

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