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The last time the Dartmouth softball team was on Soldiers Field, it was celebrating its first-ever North Division title at the expense of the host Crimson.
A year later, Harvard wasn’t about to let that happen again.
Needing two wins in this weekend’s four-game set to clinch the division crown, the Crimson got it done early and in convincing fashion, sweeping the Big Green, 9-0 and 7-1, at home on Saturday.
“I’m proud of our team—everybody contributed,” co-captain Margaux Black said. “Everyone did something great today. We came out fired up, and it was awesome.”
HARVARD 7, DARTMOUTH 1
Just as in the first game, Harvard made a statement in the first inning and never looked back, cruising to a 7-1 victory and punching its ticket to the Ivy League Championship Series.
Junior Ellen Macadam got the game started with a double down the left-field line. Co-captain Melissa Schellberg moved her to third base with a single, and then sophomore Whitney Shaw drove a single through the left side to plate Macadam for the game’s first run.
“[They were] pivotal, Ellen’s hits,” Crimson coach Jenny Allard said. “First batter of the game, to get those hits and get on for us. And that puts Whitney up in that inning, and she’s just a strong, powerful hitter. It’s hard to get her out.”
Senior Jennifer Francis then singled up the middle to score Schellberg, who is also a Crimson sports editor, and Shaw.
Sophomore Rachel Brown did her part to protect the early three-run lead, scattering a pair of hits over four innings of work for her second win of the day. Brown also struck out 13 batters, which brought her season total to 219—surpassing the program single-season record she set last spring.
Harvard broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, sparked by a one-out walk from sophomore Jane Alexander. Macadam singled to move Alexander to third and chase Dartmouth starter Kat Hicks from the game.
Reliever Evan Gray fared no better against the potent Crimson offense. After Macadam stole second, senior Stephanie Krysiak singled to shallow left to plate Alexander.
Macadam was tagged out at home on Schellberg’s suicide squeeze, but Shaw followed with a two-RBI double to deep right-center. Freshman Jess Ferri’s single to shallow left brought Shaw home for the seventh run of the game.
Black came on in relief and allowed just one run on four hits in three innings of work to seal the win for Harvard—giving the senior class another shot at winning its second Ivy title.
“I came out knowing that this was my last game on this field, and I really wanted to go out with a bang,” Black said. “It’s awesome to be able to celebrate on our own field.”
HARVARD 9, DARTMOUTH 0
In the first inning of this crucial divisional series, both the Crimson and Big Green came out swinging. But only one pitcher could find her way out of the jam unscathed.
Though Brown allowed a pair of singles in the top of the first, she struck out the side to escape with a scoreless inning. Dartmouth pitcher Hillary Barker was not so lucky.
Macadam got a piece of the first pitch of the inning to open the floodgates, dropping a single into left-center field.
“Ellen’s leadoff, first-pitch single...that set the tone for the entire day,” Black said.
Krysiak reached second base on a throwing error by Barker, and Schellberg followed up with an RBI single over Big Green shortstop Christy Autin’s head.
Shaw then cleared the bases with a three-run bomb over the left-field fence, her 11th dinger of the season.
Brown settled down, scattering two hits over her next three innings of scoreless work.
Meanwhile, the offense continued to pad the advantage.
“I [knew] our pitching was there—we were going to be pretty consistent with that,” Allard said. “We really talked about coming out strong offensively and really playing clean on defense, and we did that.”
Macadam doubled home Alexander in the second, and Schellberg’s single to shallow right scored freshman pinch-runner Ashley Heritage in the bottom of the fourth.
Heritage entered the game after junior Emily Henderson injured her ankle sliding back into first base in the fourth inning. The left fielder missed the rest of the weekend’s action, but Allard hopes to have her back in the lineup for next weekend’s championship series.
The Crimson added one run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from senior Jessica Pledger, and brought the game to an early conclusion in the sixth.
Francis hit a two-RBI single up the middle which plated Schellberg and Shaw, giving Harvard a 9-0 lead and ending the game by the run rule.
Brown earned the win in four innings of work, while Black pitched two innings of one-hit ball in relief.
“Coming into the weekend, [Dartmouth was] the third-place team in the league, hitting the ball very well,” Allard said. “[Brown and Black] limited them to one run in two games. They were outstanding.”
—Staff writer Kate Leist can be reached at email@example.com.
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