Harvard started yesterday’s doubleheader against Holy Cross with a bang and ended it with an explosion.
The Crimson (15-15) jumped out to an early lead in game one on senior Beth Sabin’s two-run homer. And in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game, down by two, Susie Winkeller blasted a walk-off home run over the right-field fence to complete the sweep.
The two victories showed Harvard’s depth and persistence—despite being plagued by injuries, it was able to fend off the pesky Crusaders (8-27) and end the day with two more wins under its belt.
“We’ve been plagued by injuries this year and this team has been just so resilient,” Crimson coach Jenny Allard said. “We’ve overcome such great odds and it’s been an opportunity for players to step up and play different positions.”
HARVARD 6, HOLY CROSS 5
Most teams, especially ones set back by injuries, would be nervous going into the bottom of the seventh inning down by two runs, but thrown into that same situation in yesterday’s nightcap, the Crimson remained optimistic.
“There was confidence in the dugout,” Allard said. “We had a lot of hits, but we were struggling to string them together. We got an opportunity in the last inning to get it done.”
Harvard seized the opportunity and strung together three straight hits to start the seventh inning. Sabin led off with a double and freshman Danielle Kerper followed with a single. Winkeller kept the momentum going and lofted a deep shot to right to win the game.
The Crimson’s defense was sharp yesterday, in spite of the fact that several starters were playing out of position. After allowing the Crusaders to score in the first inning, senior co-captain Lauren Bettinelli held them scoreless until the fourth.
The defensive effort was punctuated by senior Lauren Stefanchik’s running, over-the-shoulder catch in centerfield in the second inning. Co-captain Kerry Flaherty, playing second base instead of her usual outfield position, dove to stop a ball from getting out of the infield and still on the ground, threw the ball to first base to end the top of the third inning. Kerper also made a great defensive play, running to catch a ball hit into deep right field.
Harvard was getting hits, but it just wasn’t able to convert them into runs at the beginning of the game. In the bottom of the third inning, the Crimson capitalized on a walk to junior Pilar Adams, who was able to score on Bettinelli’s single. Harvard also scored on a double steal in the bottom of the fourth. When the Holy Cross catcher threw the ball to second to try to catch junior Rachel Murray, the ball bounced away and Winkeller shrewdly stole home.
Both Harvard pitchers had a successful day on the mound. Bettinelli recorded four strikeouts over four innings. Sophomore Becky Voaklander, who pitched the final three innings, also recorded four strikeouts and got the win.
HARVARD 4, HOLY CROSS 1
Harvard wasted no time showing Holy Cross its powerful offense in the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader.
Three of the four Crimson runs came in the first inning. Stefanchik led off the game with a bunt single and scored when Sabin cracked a two-run homer off the first pitch thrown to her. After Kerper struck out, Winkeller hit a single to shallow left, barely beating a quick throw to first. Senior Cecily Gordon drove her home with an RBI double.