Some say failure is the mother of success. It certainly was for the softball team on Wednesday.
After dropping the first game of a doubleheader 4–1 at Sacred Heart (15–18), the Bulldogs (9–18, 4–4 Ivy) bounced back in a big way in the second game, routing the Pioneers 10–0 in a contest that ended early after five innings due to the mercy rule. The Elis hope their performance in the second game will translate into success in a key pair of doubleheaders at divisional foe Dartmouth this weekend.
“We went into today’s games with the weekend in mind,” captain and centerfielder Ashley Sloan ’10 said. “If we keep playing like we did in the second game, we should do pretty well the rest of the season.”
Yale’s offense was non-existent for much of the first game as Sacred Heart Pitcher Nicole Sidor held the Bulldogs without a hit or a run for the first five innings of play.
“Wednesday games can be difficult, coming straight from class,” catcher McKynlee Westman ’11 said. “It was like we were still warming up in the first game. We were not as awake as we would have liked.”
With the Pioneers leading 4–0, the Elis finally broke through with three hits and a run off a single from second-baseman Jennifer Ong ’13 in the sixth.
The Bulldogs had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Sidor retired the last batter to end the game 4–1.
Overall, Sacred Heart outhit Yale 6–4 in the contest. Catcher Lexi Peacock ’12 led the team with two hits, while pitcher Jackie Manzer ’13 got her sixth loss of the season, giving up four earned runs and six hits through four innings.
“We were really angry about the first game,” leftfielder Allie Canulli ’10 said. “We thought we could have played a lot better.”
Before the second game, the team focused on loosening up and not playing uptight, Sloan said.
And loosen up the Eli bats did, as the Bulldogs batted in three hits and scored two runs in the first inning on RBIs from Ong and Canulli.
Meanwhile, pitcher Holly Gutterud ’10 allowed only one hit in the first three innings as Yale scored twice more in the third to make it 4–0.
Yale broke the game wide open in the top of the fourth inning. Westman led off the inning with a walk, and rightfielder Chelsey Locarno ’12 bunted to advance Westman to second. Second-baseman Katie Yanagisawa ’11 singled to load the bases, and Sloan singled to score Westman. Third-baseman Christy Nelson ’13 grounded out for another RBI, and Canulli added a two-run single. A Gutterud single scored Canulli and capped a five-run inning for the Elis to make it 9–0.
Nelson added another RBI in the fifth to make it 10-0. Yale’s lead of at least eight runs after five innings meant the game ended two innings early due to the mercy rule.
“It felt good to get the bats going,” Sloan said. “This is how we should always play.”
Eight different players had hits for the Bulldogs. Canulli led the way with three RBIs, while Ong and Nelson had two RBIs each. Gutterud and pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 combined for a two-hit shutout, striking out two each.
“Our pitchers did a great job of overpowering their hitters in the second game,” Westman said.
The two doubleheaders against Dartmouth are especially important since the Big Green play in Yale’s division of the Ivy League. The top teams from each four-team division meet to decide the Ivy Championship.
“We know we can win, and we’re excited,” Westman said. “A four-game sweep would be amazing.”
Both Saturday and Sunday’s doubleheaders begin at 12:30 p.m.