When the Bulldogs are on, they’re on.
After four losses last week, the softball team (10-8, 0-0 Ivy) came back strong with two wins against Army (4-20) in a home doubleheader yesterday. The Bulldogs won the first game 5-4, and followed it up with an 11-3 rout.
After scoring only one run in two games against Marist on Saturday, the Bulldogs said working on offense was their main goal. And indeed, offense was their strength yesterday, especially in the second game, when the team scored 11 runs and could have tallied more, leaving three players on base in the fifth inning when the game was ended due to the mercy rule.
“Today’s games really showed that we’re a team that can bounce back,” captain and shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 said. “Our previous four games weren’t great, and we really came back from behind during our first game.”
The Bulldogs had a shaky start — they were down 4-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning. Coach Barbara Reinalda said the Elis had let the Black Knights score on defensive errors with one run in the first inning, and three more in the second.
But the fourth inning was a turning point for the Bulldogs as they came from behind with four hits and two runs. With Torres and Megan Enyeart ’09 on base, Mariclaire Rebman ’11 singled to center field and batted her two teammates in to put Yale on the board.
The fourth inning was also a marker for pitcher Deanna DiBernardi ’09, who allowed only three hits the entire game during the first innings, but did not give up any hits or runs during the last ones.
“We stayed with the same throws that I normally do over and over again,” DiBernardi explained. “But in the fourth inning, we started mixing it up a bit and had a little fun with them.”
The Bulldogs still trailed going into the seventh and final inning after leaving hitters on base in the fifth and sixth. But in the 11th hour, the Bulldogs put together a string of hits, scoring three more runs for the win.
Yale started off the inning strong. Ashley Sloan ’10 tripled to right field and scored when Katie Yanagisawa ’11 singled. Torres followed up with another single and moved to third after Enyeart hit a double to bat Yanagisawa in. After two ground outs, Enyeart moved to third on a wild pitch as Torres scored the winning run.
“We went down early,” said catcher Katie Edwards ’09. “But in the end, we turned the tide on them.”
Torres added, “How we ended the first game really helped us carry that momentum through into our next game.”
Although they started off slow again in game two — the Elis found themselves down 3-0 after the first inning — they hit big in the second inning with another string of successful batting. The Bulldogs scored six runs with seven hits and had two more players on base at the end of the second.
Yale’s defense supported the team’s offensive power, with an impressive pair of two double plays, getting Black Knights out at first and second both times.
“Double plays are always great for our pitchers because it really gives them confidence in the defense behind them,” explained Torres.
The Bulldogs scored two more runs in the third inning, but came up empty in the fourth. But in the fifth inning, the Bulldogs produced their third string of hits, securing three more runs for a total of 11, thereby ending the game with the mercy rule.
With today’s two solid wins and the successful rallies from behind, players said they have more confidence as they head into Ivy League competition this weekend.
But Coach Reinalda added, “We’re not going to approach Ivy League play any differently.”
The Bulldogs begin their Ancient Eight competition this weekend with doubleheaders at Penn on Saturday and at Columbia on Sunday.