Softball dominates Friars

After an unanticipated but explosive beginning to their season, Yale’s softball team would have cheated themselves and their fans if they had ended their non-league play with anything else but sweet victory and excellent playing. The Bulldogs (27-17, 2-6 Ivy) did just that on Wednesday, sweeping Providence (23-13-1) in a late afternoon doubleheader.

The Elis notched a 6-4 victory over the Friars in the first game and a 9-5 win in the second. Right fielder Kyli Hanson ’09 said the team’s victory may be the result of an addition to the coaching staff — Rudy Meredith, the head coach for women’s soccer, recently volunteered to help out the Bulldogs, who were short one coach.

“As far as him being a new addition to the team, he’s a huge factor in us doing our job very well,” Hanson said. “He has done some pre-game stuff which allowed us to focus and be positive and relaxed.”

The first five innings of the first game can only be described as a face-off between Bulldog pitcher Rebecca Wojciak ’09 and Friars’ pitchers Jennifer Maccio and Sara Surosky. A scoreless game, with no runs into the sixth inning, put the pressure on Wojciak and Maccio.

“Pitchers did a great job today,” Courtney Guerland ’07 said. “They kept the batters on their toes.”

The Friars were the first to break onto the scoreboard when second baseman Gina Rossi hit a one-run double to bring home pinch runner and outfielder Caroline Santelli.

But Providence ignited the Elis’ offensive spark with a series of defensive errors. After third baseman Meredith Parks ’06 moved to third on a wild pitch, she put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard on the Friars defensive error, a passed ball. Designated hitter Danielle Kozlowski ’09 literally kept the ball rolling as she hit in leftfielder Courtney Blachford ’08 with her single. Guerland gave the Elis a two-run cushion when her long single earned her an RBI. But it was catcher Katie Edwards ’09 who sealed the victory when she walloped her three-run double.

The Bulldogs played an excellent game on both sides of the mound. Wojciack only allowed one earned run on nine hits and struck out four while Edwards reached a team high of 27 RBI.

“We felt like we got back on track, especially with hitting,” pitcher Deanna DiBernardi ’09 said. “We really produced, we hit the ball into the gap and we scored the runs.”

The Friars made a valiant effort to come back, including catcher Rachel Bartholomew’s three-run homerun, but they were not able to come back to win. In the second game, the Friars grabbed a one run lead in the first but the Elis countered. Shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 hit a two-run homer to bat in Guerland and first baseman Nikki Haab ’07 followed with a one-run double to put the Elis two ahead.

As if the entire stadium was experiencing deja vu, the Bulldogs scored another three runs in the second with another two-run homer by Torres to bat in Guerland. In the next three innings the Friars scored three runs, including Bartholomew’s second homer of the game, bringing the score to 6-3. Once again, the sixth was the magic inning for Elis. They scored three runs, one of which was Guerland’s one-run homer, her second of the season. Catcher Megan Enyeart ’09 nabbed one RBI in the last play of the game. DiBernardi pitched the first 3.1 innings of the game and Peggy Hunt ’06 pitched 3.2 innings of relief.

Guerland was brief in her assessment of the two games.

“I think it was just an all-around good day at the ball park,” she said.

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