After dropping its last two nonconference games, the Harvard softball team came out in full force Tuesday afternoon, defeating Bryant, 9-3, at Soldiers Field.
The Crimson (21-19, 11-5 Ivy) received contributions from its entire roster as all four of the team’s pitchers were on the mound for at least one inning, and four pinch hitters capitalized on opportunities to have at bats against the Bulldogs (15-28, 6-6 NEC).
“I thought it was a great game,” senior infielder Katherine Lantz said. “Everyone contributed. We haven’t had a game where everyone’s gotten the chance to play ever. I think that was the most people we’ve gotten in a game all season.”
Harvard saw hits come from nine different players in the lineup, with senior outfielder Andrea Del Conte leading the way with four hits and three runs batted in. The freshman class was also well represented in the offensive effort, as Dallas Hogan, Alexa Altchek, and Morgan Macchiarulo were all called upon to contribute to the win.
Bryant jumped out in front first when junior pitcher Elle Madsen hit a ball over the fence in the top of the second inning off of Crimson starting pitcher Taylor Cabe.
Harvard’s offense retaliated immediately as the team rallied to score four runs off of five singles and a Bulldog error in the bottom of the second. Sophomore infielder Catherine Callaway got the rally going with a single to right field, and after a lineout to second base, senior infielder Adrienne Hume added a single of her own to right field, advancing Callaway to second base. Junior outfielder Zoe Galindo came up with a bunt single to load the bases for Lantz, who delivered with a single up the middle to drive in a run.
A pitching change could not stop the Crimson offense as Del Conte stepped up to the plate and ripped a single up the middle, driving in two runs. A costly throwing error allowed Harvard to tack on another run, and by the time the dust had cleared, the team harnessed a 4-1 lead.
“[The goal was] just to be relaxed and come out and play hard,” Harvard coach Jenny Allard said. “And they did. They attacked early and kept the pressure on. That’s the other thing—they didn’t stop, and that was great to see.”
After surrendering two runs in the top of the fifth, the offense went to work once again. Junior Haley Davis led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left-center, and she was driven in two batters later on sophomore Gianna Panariello’s single to center field. Panariello was called out at home on a fielder’s choice later in the inning, but the next three batters reached, once again bringing Del Conte to the plate with an opportunity to drive in runs.
Back to back singles from Del Conte and sophomore pinch hitter Jillian Leslie tacked on two more runs, making the Crimson’s lead 8-3. The final run came in the bottom of the sixth when Dallas scored on a fielder’s choice.
The pitching duties were split between all four of the available arms on Harvard’s roster. Cabe got the start and pitched three strong innings before junior Morgan Groom came in in the fourth. Groom was replaced two innings later by senior Gabrielle Ruiz, and classmate Laura Ricciardone was called upon in the top of the seventh to record the final three outs of the game.
“We’re going to need everyone, and that’s not limited to the field players,” Lantz said. “That includes the pitchers as well. I think the more pitchers that we can get in, the better. Dartmouth’s a good hitting team, and I would hate to see them see the same pitcher[s] over and over again and time them. And all of our pitchers are really good. They all have different stuff, and they work really well together.”
—Staff writer Eileen Storey contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Ariel Smolik-Valles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.