Cornell Tops Harvard in Game 3, Reclaims Ivy League Title
After a walk-off finish in Game 2 of the Ivy League Championship Series, the Harvard softball team fell just short in its comeback bid in the final game, losing, 3-2, to Cornell Saturday at Niemand*Robison Field.
“I’m bummed right now, but honestly, it was a great series,” said co-captain and pitcher Margaux Black. “It was an awesome weekend overall. All three of the games were battles, epic battles. We played really well, we played our game, we played Harvard softball. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but we did some really great things.”
The Crimson (26-22, 18-5 Ivy) needed eight innings in Game 2 to force a deciding Game 3 after the Big Red (37-13, 19-4) opened the series with a 3-1 victory.
Knowing that the rubber match was probably going to mimic the pitchers’ duels that dominated the first two games of the series, Harvard was intent to get its bats off to a quick start in the deciding game.
Junior Ellen Macadam led off the top of the first with a single and advanced to second following senior Stephanie Krysiak’s sacrifice bunt. Co-captain Melissa Schellberg, who is also a Crimson sports editor, followed with a single that put runners on the corners with only one out. Following sophomore Whitney Shaw’s strikeout, freshman Jess Ferri was able to plate Macadam with an RBI single to shortstop. But Cornell’s Elizabeth Dalrymple was able to get out of the jam when she forced sophomore Mari Zumbro to line out to left field.
Black held the Big Red to only one hit through the first two innings, but Cornell got the bats rolling in the third.
Black allowed a leadoff single to Erin Keene before Marissa Amiraian took a 2-1 pitch over the right-field fence to give the Big Red its the 2-1 lead. Black recovered nicely and induced three-straight groundouts to escape the inning.
“I really think Margaux stole the show this weekend,” sophomore Rachel Brown said. “She was absolutely incredible.”
It didn’t take long for Harvard to get back on track, as Shaw homered in the first at-bat of the next inning to even the score at 2-2. Zumbro doubled to left after Ferri flied out, but the Crimson couldn’t move her any further after senior Jessica Pledger fouled out and Dalrymple struck out senior Jennifer Francis looking.
Black gave up a leadoff single to start the bottom of the fourth inning but was able to retire the next batter. After a walk, a flyout, and another Keene single, the bases were loaded with two outs. The stage was set for the Big Red’s hottest bat to strike again.
Amiraian stepped up to the batter’s box and hit a sharp RBI single to third base, knocking in her third run of the game. But Black again got out of the inning with minimal damage as she retired the next batter to end the bases-loaded jam.
Sophomore Jane Alexander and Macadam flied out to begin the top of the fifth inning, but consecutive singles by Krysiak and Schellberg gave Harvard a chance to tie or regain the lead with cleanup hitter Shaw up to bat. Dalrymple stood tall and caught Shaw swinging to fan her fifth batter of the day and end the threat.
“I think [Dalrymple] is effective against our hitters,” Black said. “She is a rise-ball pitcher, so she has a lot of up pitches, and we were getting a little under the ball, popping some balls up. But we also figured her out. We were hitting the ball hard [Saturday]. Whitney Shaw hit a bomb home run. We figured her out, but she was very effective.”
Neither team would put a runner on base for the rest of the game, as Dalrymple pitched an eight-hit complete game to earn her 21st win of the season and give Cornell its fifth Ivy softball crown. The junior pitched every inning for the Big Red in the series.
“I think last year we were very disappointed that we didn’t make it to the Ivy Championship,” Brown said. “It was a big step to get here. The next step next year is winning. Last year we learned that it’s not always a guarantee that we’re going to make it this far. This year we learned that every game matters and that we can get here, that we can play with every team in the Ivy League. So hopefully next year everything will fall into place and it will be our turn to win it.”
—Staff writer Colin Whelehan can be reached at email@example.com.