Twice softball bounces back after losses

For the softball team, it was a weekend full of ups and downs.

The Bulldogs (12-10, 2-2 Ivy) split their doubleheaders against both Penn (14-8, 3-1 Ivy) and Columbia (12-14, 3-1), coming back big after initial rough losses both times.

On Saturday, Yale bounced back from a close 4-3 loss to the Quakers by coming around with a 9-5 victory in the second game. On Sunday, the Lions beat the Bulldogs in an 11-0 rout, but Yale turned the tables with a 5-0 shutout to wrap up their weekend.

The Elis started off with tough losses on both days — a tie-breaking loss in the eighth inning on Saturday and an rout on Sunday. But players said the highlight of their weekend was their ability to bounce back from those low points and turn two losses into two wins.

“We were disappointed, but we didn’t let the losses get to us,” catcher Katie Edwards ’09 said. “We came back swinging, and we won what should have won in the first place.”

Pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 added, “A lot of teams can get down on themselves coming off an 11-0 loss, but our hitters were hitting better and our defense did a complete 180.”

The Bulldogs started their weekend with a tough loss in their first game against Penn. Edwards hit big with a two-run home run early, helping the Elis lead 3-0 going into the top of the sixth inning. But after Penn scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and one more in the seventh, the teams went into extra innings, where the Bulldogs came up empty and the Quakers scored the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the eighth.

“They were aggressive and we let girls advance when they shouldn’t have, which allowed them to score runs that helped them win,” Edwards explained. “It was tough because we scored early and we all knew we should have and could have won.”

But the Bulldogs used that disappointment as motivation in their next contest to score more runs as insurance to protect them from a repeat of their previous game. The Bulldogs were leading 9-0 by the top of the fifth inning, and even Penn’s five runs in the last two innings were not enough to give the Quakers another last-minute win.

While Saturday started off with a tough loss, Sunday started out with an even rougher one — the Elis lost to Columbia in an 11-0 rout. Players said their lacking offense was compounded by the many defensive mistakes and communication problems that gave the Lions opportunities to score big.

“We just weren’t able to produce on offense — it doesn’t matter if the other team scores if we’re able to score more, but that wasn’t the case,” captain and shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 explained. “We went into the next game knowing we had to bear down, reflect on what we did poorly and improve on that.”

Indeed, the Bulldogs did improve. Right off the bat, the Bulldogs showed strong offense by scoring two runs in the first inning with the help of a double from first baseman Megan Enyeart ’09, who had three hits and three RBI. In addition, players said the team worked off of Kuretich’s strong pitching, which catcher Edwards described as “phenomenal — the best game I’ve ever caught for Kayla [Kuretich].”

Kuretich took advantage of the very low strike zone by throwing drop balls and curve balls that kept the Lions off balance. Pitching a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts, Kuretich has dropped her ERA down to an impressive 1.07.

“I went in really wanting to win, and we came back on fire,” Kuretich said. “We were upset and pissed off about the first game, and no way were we going to get swept again.”

She added, “We just need to start with that intensity and confidence next time, instead having to lose first.”

The Bulldogs resume play in a doubleheader against Fairfield on Wednesday, before returning to Ivy League play at home against Princeton and Cornell next weekend.

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