Give the Harvard softball team credit--it definitely knows how to spice up a ballgame.
The Crimson (27-17-1, 6-4 Ivy) swept a doubleheader from Central Connecticut (3-33-1) yesterday, winning by scores of 3-2 and 5-4. The final scores, though, could have been much more favorable for Harvard.
Maybe the players wanted to add some drama to the last home games of the season.
Maybe they wanted the seniors to have exciting memories of the final home games of their careers.
Whatever the reason, the Crimson allowed the overmatched Blue Devils to keep both games close. The outcome of each game, however, was never really in doubt.
"I thought we were hitting the ball well, but we were hitting it right at people," said senior right fielder Melissa Kreuder. "We had a little bit of bad luck."
In the first game of the twin billing, Harvard wasted no time jumping ahead. Co-captain Katina Lee led off the bottom of the first by getting hit on the foot by a pitch.
She quickly made Central Connecticut pay for its disrespect, taking second on a passed ball and then scoring the game's first run on a throwing error after a bunt single by junior Jenny Franzese. Later in the inning sophomore catcher Terri Teller scored the Crimson's second run on an RBI-single up the middle by Kreuder.
Harvard had chances to tack on more runs in the first, but freshman Deborah Abeles was pegged at home trying to score on Kreuder's hit, and later in the inning with the bases loaded freshman Ghia Godfree grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
That was the way it went for the Crimson all day. Just when it appeared ready to break the game wide open with an offensive explosion, the bats would go cold. Harvard left a total of 14 runners on base in the two games.
"[Stranding runners] is a problem we've had all year," said Kreuder. "We have the potential to score a lot more runs."
In the very next inning the Blue Devils put a scare into the Crimson by tying the game at 2-2. However, Harvard avoided falling behind when junior second baseman Mandy Wills snagged a grounder, tagged the runner and threw to first for the inning-ending double play.
Harvard squandered scoring chances in the second and third innings, but got the one run it needed in the fourth. With one out Lee ripped a line drive right at the Central Connecticut second baseman who had no chance to handle it.
Lee then stole second, and Teller drove her in on a single to right field. The Crimson defense did the rest.
Sophomore Kathleen Brown got the start and her fourth win of the season behind a solid performance on the mound. She struck out two and gave up only three hits in five innings of work.