Last weekend, the softball team showed marked resilience as they fought back from rough defeats in the first pair of games during back-to-back doubleheaders to emerge with victories in the second pair. Yesterday did not tell the same story.
After a 8-0 loss to the Fairfield (8-16-1) that ended in six innings due to the mercy rule, the Bulldogs (12-12, 2-2 Ivy) almost held off the Stags in the second game, but fell short, 2-1, after giving up a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Going into the games, the Elis said they knew that they could very well come away with wins given their past track record: In the past three years, Yale and Fairfield had split their doubleheaders.
But they didn’t expect yesterday’s disappointing first game.
“The second game was well fought, and we thought both games would be like that,” catcher Katie Edwards ’09 said. “The first game was very unlike us.”
Until a late-inning collapse in game two, yesterday’s doubleheader strongly echoed the Bulldogs’ performance against Columbia on Sunday, when Yale lost the first game 11-0, but came back with a 5-0 victory. As with the first game against the Lions, the Bulldogs struggled with their defense, counting four technical errors, and other defensive mistakes.
“Not having a lot of our defense errors could have gotten us out of situations and gotten us back on offense,” pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 explained. “The errors were not at good times — the other team would get a base hit, and then they’d score another run off our mistakes and communication errors.”
Despite the team’s ability to get on base, things just did not fall into place as Yale struggled with stringing hits together to produce runs. In each inning of the first game, the Bulldogs left runners stranded. In the first inning, Nicole Wolfe ’11 was left stranded on third base, as was Edwards an inning later.
As an indication of the resilience they showed last weekend, Yale came back and started the second game on a strong note with three hits and one run in the first inning. They came together with a string of hits, having the bases loaded after the first run, but three Bulldogs were left on base as the inning ended.
This theme plagued the Bulldogs throughout the second game. The Bulldogs were able to get players on base, but weren’t able to convert them into runs.
“We started off strong, but we couldn’t capitalize further during the later innings,” captain and shortstop Aracelis Torres ’08 explained. “We had opportunities with runners on base, but we just didn’t make use of them.”
Statistically, Yale outplayed Fairfield in game two — the Elis totaled seven hits, which was two more than the Stags. And despite difficulties converting hits into runs, the Bulldogs still held onto the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the sixth, when Fairfield came back with two runs to eliminate the Elis’ early lead.
In the seventh inning, the Bulldogs tried to make a comeback, but it wasn’t enough. Katie Yanagisawa ’11 advanced to second and Allie Canulli ’10 advanced to third, but the last inning ended before the Bulldogs could score the run that would have kept them in the game, ending the day with a heartbreakingly close loss.
“It’s always really rough to end with a game with a tying run on third base, having someone only 60 feet away from scoring a run that could have kept us in the game,” Torres said.
With yesterday’s disappointing results still fresh, the Bulldogs will return to Ivy League competition this weekend, hosting both Princeton and Cornell. Players said they are anxious to make up for yesterday’s performance, especially since the league standings will be at stake.
“We’re very disappointed with the results — it’s not what we want, especially going into this weekend,” Kuretich said. “We’re going to have to fight really hard, and we have a lot to fight for, especially against Princeton and Cornell.”
But on the bright side, at least these losses did not occur during Ancient Eight competition and will not affect their standings in the league, said Edwards.
“We got it out of our system, and they don’t really matter except for our overall record,” she said. “We just need to focus on this weekend, and we’ll definitely come out fighting because Princeton and Cornell are really tough competitors and probably two of the best in the league.”