Softball finally returns home, will attempt Ivy turnaround

With family and friends in attendance for alumni weekend, blue skies and the comfort of being back home, the Yale softball team could not ask for a better recipe for success.

“We’ve played so many games away, it feels like we’re never here,” right fielder Kyli Hanson ’09 said. “The more fans, the better.”

The Bulldogs (24-14, 1-3 Ivy) will host Dartmouth (9-16, 2-2) and Harvard (13-14, 2-2) Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at DeWitt field. Last week the Elis suffered two tough losses to Princeton (20-9, 6-0) and managed to split their doubleheader with Penn (14-20, 2-4).

“We weren’t hoping to start our Ivy play like that,” shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 said. “I do think that splitting with Penn put us back on the right track, especially ending it with the win.”

Although the Bulldogs did not perform as well as they had hoped in their Ivy opener, they have been able to put it behind them, second baseman Christina Guerland ’07 said.

“You can’t dwell on it,” she said. “We just move on and approach our next games with a new start.”

This weekend, the Elis will have their chance to put everything behind them, and assert themselves as strong competitors within the Ivy League.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs will battle the Big Green in a doubleheader at home. Dartmouth is currently tied with Harvard for fourth in the league, while Yale is locked in a three-way tie for sixth. The Elis do not seem too worried about the standings, especially so early into conference play.

“A lot of shifting will go on throughout the season,” Torres said. “In the Ivy League, we are all pretty much on the same level.”

Like the Bulldogs, the Big Green’s freshmen contribute a lot to their success. Freshman outfielder Katie Chifcian leads the team in batting with her .309 average. Chifcian was also recently named Ivy League Rookie of the Week.

Although she should be a force on the field this weekend, the Bulldogs might not need to be worried. Chifcian is no match for the Eli’s baby batter, first baseman Megan Enyeart ’09, who leads the team with her .357 batting average. Enyeart’s 18 RBI and ten doubles trump Chifcian’s 10 RBI and four doubles.

“[Enyeart] has hit the ball harder than I have ever seen anyone hit the ball,” Guerland said. “She hits it like it’s a beach ball. If she’s on her game this weekend, which I have no doubt that she will be, she is definitely going to maintain her average.”

The Elis next take on Yale’s historic rival, the Crimson. Harvard will travel to New Haven after their Saturday doubleheader against Brown.

The Cantabs have one thing the Bulldogs do not — veterans. But even with five seniors on the team, the freshmen lead the team in defensive and offensive statistics. Freshman first baseman Suzi Cominski leads the team in batting with her .333 average. Defensively, freshman Bailey Vertovez is the foremost pitcher and has 53 strikeouts in 50.1 innings.

The extra excitement that inevitably follows any Harvard-Yale event is not lost on the softball team.

“Harvard is Harvard and that definitely ups the ante,” Guerland said. “We are really excited, looking forward to it and happy to be back in New Haven.”

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