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Softball Splits Double-Header With Dartmouth, 1-1

The softball team posted mixed results against Dartmouth this past weekend.
The softball team posted mixed results against Dartmouth this past weekend. By Dylan J. Goodman
By Elizabeth Crawford and Olivia G Stringham, Contributing Writers

On Friday afternoon, the Harvard softball team (10-11, 1-4 EIVA) played at Soldiers Field for the first time this season in a double-header against Dartmouth. The Crimson won the first game, but the reigning Ivy League champs couldn’t keep the momentum going and fell to Dartmouth in the second game. The scheduled third game of the series was canceled due to inclement weather, and will now take place on Tuesday, April 9.

The team started strong this spring, going 8-1 in its first nine games of the preseason. Since then, however, the Crimson has posted a mere two wins against 10 losses, including a record of 1-6 on its Spring Break tour in California. Its losing streak culminated in three consecutive losses to league and historic rival, Yale. With 16 more conference games and the Ivy League Tournament left on the schedule, the Crimson still has plenty of time to recapture its early-season mojo and turn its conference record around.

Harvard 9, Dartmouth 6

In the top of the first inning, Dartmouth’s leadoff hitter senior catcher Mary Beth Cahalan smoked a triple to right-center before scoring to give the Big Green a 1-0 lead. Then, in the bottom of the first inning, Harvard’s powerhouse offense took control, scoring five runs on five hits.

“We were attacking offensively in the first game against Dartmouth and had quality at-bats with runners in scoring position,” said junior shortstop Priyanka Kaul.

The barrage was highlighted by sophomore infielder Finley Paynes' two-RBI single that scored senior outfielder Lauren Bobowski and first-year infielder Sophie Sun – who is also the current Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

Dartmouth scored one run in the top of the second inning, but outstanding defensive plays by the Crimson ended the Big Green threat, keeping the score at 5-2. The Crimson kept the momentum going in the second inning. Thanks to two critical errors by Dartmouth’s defense, Bobowski and Sun scored a pair of runs, increasing Harvard’s lead to 7-2.

The Big Green chipped away at Harvard’s lead in the third and fourth innings, and Harvard came up in the bottom of the fourth leading by just one run, 7-6. But the Crimson responded immediately. Thanks to hits by Sun and junior catcher Savannah Fitzpatrick, Harvard extended its lead to 8-6.

Harvard’s pitching and defense stifled Dartmouth the rest of the way. The Big Green’s final nine batters were retired in order, and the Crimson tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing the final score to 9-6.

The first game of the doubleheader was the first conference win for Harvard, earned by both a phenomenal defensive and offensive game, with minimal mistakes from the Crimson. Hunter had a standout game, striking out three batters and boasting three scoreless innings.

Kaul emphasized Hunter’s standout play: “We had players from across the field step up in key situations to keep positive momentum going.”

The squad will hope to redeem itself against Brown this weekend.
The squad will hope to redeem itself against Brown this weekend. By Owen A. Berger

Harvard 0, Dartmouth 3

Following its first conference win, the Crimson went into the second game of its doubleheader with confidence. However, Dartmouth freshman pitcher Jensin Hall stifled the Crimson, allowing just one hit while striking out 13. Unable to score a single run, Harvard fell to the Big Green 3-0 and lost the momentum it had gained earlier in the day.

Beginning in the top of the first inning, it was evident that the Big Green was seeking revenge, as it had two hits in its first three at-bats. Solid pitching by Harvard’s Hunter stranded the runners on second and third base, yet Dartmouth had set the tone with its early threat.

The Big Green took the lead in the second inning, scoring two unearned runs off of Hunter. In the bottom of the third inning, Hunter recorded the first out, then allowed a single to Dartmouth’s junior infielder Leila Hennessy. Harvard’s Anna Reed was summoned from the bullpen, and after a single and a fielding error loaded the bases, Reed responded by striking out first-year infielder Cwen Wilson and inducing a groundout by sophomore infielder Ashley Frantz, ending the threat.

However, Harvard was unable to capitalize on any momentum that might have resulted from this bases-loaded escape. For the rest of the game, Hall continued to dominate on the mound, and as a result, Harvard’s offense couldn’t get anything going.

Capitalizing on a wild pitch, the New Hampshire program tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, extending its lead to 3-0. Then, Hall closed out the Crimson in the bottom of the seventh, retiring the final three batters in order.

“Our pitching and defense kept the game close, but ultimately our offense was not producing,” Kaul said after the game.

Harvard continues league play this weekend with a three-game-series against Brown. It will play its first two games on Saturday, and one on Sunday. The Crimson will travel to Providence, R.I. for the weekend. The first game of the double-header will take place on Saturday at 12:30 pm – and will be streamed on ESPN+ – and the second will start at 3:00 pm. The third game will commence on Sunday at 12:30 pm and will also be streamed live on ESPN+.

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