If the softball team was going to win one and lose one, at least it did it like this.
In their first home games of the season, the Bulldogs (5-11, 0-0 Ivy) split a doubleheader for the second time in two weekends, this time against the Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson (2-8). The Elis fell just short in the early game, dropping the eight-inning affair, 3-2.
But the Bulldogs recovered in a big way in the second game, winning in the bottom of the sixth inning by the mercy rule, 9-1. The Elis took advantage of Knight novice pitcher Ashley Buchanan for a season-high 17 hits.
“We were all disappointed about losing the first game, especially since Peggy [Hunt ’06] pitched so well,” outfielder Emily Lederer ’06 said. “But we played one of our best games of the season in the second game. That says a lot about the resilience of our team.”
Lederer is a staff reporter for the News.
Captain Chelsea Kanyer ’06 led the Elis in game two by going 4-for-4, scoring two runs and posting an RBI. Lederer added three hits and two RBIs, and catcher Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05, pitcher Jessica Meyer ’07 and third baseman Kate Meserve ’07 had a pair of knocks each.
The second game began with the Bulldogs going back to the same old problem — leaving too many runners on base. Despite five hits in the first two innings, the Elis could not generate any runs, leaving all five hitters stranded.
Apparently, the Bulldogs just needed to warm up. To start the third inning, Kanyer singled to left and then took second base on a wild pitch. Kwiatkowski laid down what was meant to be a sacrifice bunt to move Kanyer to third, but the Knights couldn’t field the ball and Kwiatkowski was able to make it to first.
Lederer was then able to notch the Elis’ first RBI of the day, sending a blooper into shallow left center to score Kanyer. After an Aracelis Torres ’08 sacrifice bunt and a Meyer ground out, Meserve had a soft hit fall into shallow center, allowing Kwiatkowski to come in — one of the third baseman’s three RBIs in the game.
Lederer was tagged out at home on the same play to end the inning, leaving the Elis up 2-0.
Team members said that one of their chief goals this season is to score in every inning. The first two innings aside, the Elis managed to do that and then some, posting another run in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth.
The final frame was the Bulldogs’ most impressive of the day, with Kanyer and Meserve doubling and Kwiatkowski posting a triple — the only one of the game for either team. When the eight-run mercy rule came into effect after Meserve’s two-run blast — one that fell less than a yard from the fence — the Elis had runners on second and third with only one out.
“[The second game] showed us that we are definitely a tough lineup,” Kwiatkowski said. “Everyone is capable of coming through. We showed that we can beat any team. We’re never out of it — this is the second time we’ve lost the first game, dug in and pulled out the second. Hopefully next time we can win both.”
FDU players attributed their second-game collapse to players losing energy.
“We got a little flat,” Knight captain Courtney Rejent said. “It happens sometimes when it’s cold, and you get stiff.”
While the contest was most distinctly a batter’s game, Meyer helped the Bulldog cause with stifling pitching. In five and one-third innings of work, the sophomore hurler allowed only five hits, one walk and one earned run. Ashley Linnenbank ’06 came on in relief and allowed no hits in two batters faced.
The first game saw the Elis succumb to defensive woes. With the game tied at one at the top of the seventh inning, the Knights were able to score a run — despite failing to get a hit off of Bulldog ace Hunt — on two errors.
Meserve’s throw to first was above and behind Kanyer, allowing FDU’s Jen Whitley to take second. Two batters later, trying to get Whitley out at home, Torres threw the ball in the dirt.
While Meserve hit a last-chance single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to score Lederer and force extra innings, the Knights scored on an RBI double in the top of the eighth. The Elis could not respond, as the top of the Bulldog order — Torres, second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 and Kanyer — grounded out to end the game.
Despite the loss, Hunt notched a career-high 13 strikeouts.
Yale team members and coaches said that while the team’s apparent lack of focus in the first game was disappointing, it is something that the Elis have the time to fix before Ivy play comes around.
“In the first game we went to sleep a couple of times,” co-head coach Barbara Reinalda said. “Hopefully that won’t happen in a couple more weeks — but that’s why we play preseason games.”