Forget about George Mason — Yale has its own Cinderella story in the softball team. The Bulldogs (20-10) tore through their games this weekend, winning three of four and setting the school record with 20 home runs.
While the ever-important Ivy season has yet to begin, team members stressed that non-conference games are still crucial for the team’s progress.
“I don’t put any more importance on these games just because Ivies are coming up,” second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 said. “These games are important because they are tough teams.”
On Saturday, the Elis swept the Wagner Seahawks (16-12), 2-0 and 8-3, at Dewitt Family Field. The credit for the first win belonged largely to pitcher Peggy Hunt ’06. Hunt completely stumped the Seahawks until the sixth inning when catcher Joy Gallagher ’06 managed to nab one hit. Hunt did not allow another hit in the game and finished with two strikeouts.
Offensively, the Elis started strong with a solo homer by first baseman Megan Enyeart ’09 in the second inning. Despite the strong start, the run scored by left fielder Courtney Blachford ’08 in the third was the final one of the game.
The Bulldogs did not even need to come out strong in the second game. Right fielder Kyli Hanson ’09, first baseman Niki Haab ’07 and center fielder Kate Meserve ’07 each scored a run on walks. The Seahawks tried to capture some momentum by switching freshman pitcher Kasey Kraft out for more seasoned sophomore Ami Iwicki but the pair combined for five consecutive walks and six walks total.
Shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 celebrated her birthday by hitting a double and stealing home.
“This year we are as strong if not stronger than last year,” Yale head coach Barbara Reinalda said. “That’s mainly because of our hitting.”
The next day, the Elis made the trip over to Fairfield, Conn., to play the Sacred Heart Pioneers (8-22). The Bulldogs beat the Pioneers, 4-3, in the first game but lost, 6-5, in the nightcap.
In the opening game, pitcher Deanna DiBernardi ’09 threw well for the first five innings, only giving up two hits and a walk. In the sixth inning, Sacred Heart left fielder Jessica Perez reached on an error and then scored off pitcher Ashley McDonough’s double, prompting the Elis to switch DeBernardi out for Hunt. Hunt saved the day and cemented the victory by striking out four Pioneers. While she had to leave the game, DiBernardi only allowed one run in her five and one-third innings of work.
On the offensive end, Hanson, Meserve and Guerland strung together two hits and a walk for two runs in the fifth inning. In the seventh, Haab’s run off of Guerland’s fly ball clinched the victory.
In the second game, the Bulldogs’ efforts fell too short to counter McDonough’s winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Pioneers blazed through the first two innings and ended the second with a handy 5-0 lead over the Elis. Freshman infielder Amanda Bradley greatly contributed to that lead with her two-run homer. Pitcher Megan Spehar’s two-run double was the other key hit of the inning.
The Elis responded in the fourth, beginning with Guerland’s two-run double supplemented by Meserve and Enyeart’s pair of RBIs. In the fifth, Meserve tied the game with her third home run of the season, also the team’s record-setting twentieth homer.
Pitcher Rebecca Wojciak pitched four and one-third innings in the game and struck out four, but it was not enough to change the outcome.
In the final inning, third baseman Meredith Parks ’07 attempted to throw McDonough out at home, but McDonough barely beat the throw to seal the victory for the Pioneers.