SOFTBALL | Bulldogs end break at .500

Jackie Manzer ’13 is the only non-freshman who has pitched for Yale this season.
Jackie Manzer ’13 is the only non-freshman who has pitched for Yale this season. Photo by Zoe Gorman.

After a hot start to the season, the softball team dropped consecutive doubleheaders and ended spring break with a .500 record.

It was a marked improvement from last season, which saw the Bulldogs go 2–8 over its first two weeks.

The Elis (6–6) opened their season in Kissimmee, Fla., where they competed in the Rebel Games, a tournament that featured more that 30 softball teams. Yale got off to a fast start, winning its first three games against Loyola (Ill.), La Salle and Florida A&M. Yale dropped its first game of the season against Eastern Kentucky hours after the win over Florida A&M. The Elis then got a break from action, as their doubleheader against Lehigh and Detroit-Mercy was cancelled due to rain.

Yale split its next doubleheader, shutting out Wagner for a 4–0 win before falling 7–4 to Holy Cross. Still, the Bulldogs rebounded the next day and closed out the Rebel Games with a doubleheader sweep of Hartford and Rider. The Elis left the Sunshine State with a 6–2 record.

“We were very happy [with our performance at the Rebel Games],” captain and catcher McKynlee Westman ’11 said. “Our team meshed in Florida. There’s a good feeling you get when a team just works well together, and I felt like we got that with our group in Florida.”

However, the Bulldogs have slowed down since returning from the Rebel Games and have hit a four-game skid in the past week. In that time frame, they have scored just four runs.

Yale dropped both its games at Central Connecticut last Thursday, falling 5–1 to the Blue Devils in the first game and 8–2 in the second.

The Elis then returned to New Haven, where they were swept by Bryant in their home opener last Saturday. The visitors defeated Yale 6–1 in the first game and 3–0 in the second.

“We could have done a lot better than we did,” outfielder Jennifer Ong ’13 said. “For whatever reason we just weren’t hitting like we were in Florida. If we could have backed our pitchers up in might have been different. We just couldn’t string hits together.”

In the first game, Laura Bowen hit a leadoff home run off pitcher Jackie Manzer ’13 that gave Bryant a 1–0 edge to start the game.

It was the only hit and earned run that Manzer allowed through 5.1 innings. She also had seven strikeouts and three walks in the outing.

The Bulldogs got on the board in the fourth inning. After third baseman Christy Nelson ’13 walked and advanced to second on a ground out by first baseman Mariclaire Rebman ’11, shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 drove Nelson in with a single to center field that tied the game.

Bryant regained the lead in the sixth, taking advantage of two Yale errors to score four unearned runs and go up 5–1. The visitors added their final run in the seventh.

The second game of the day was a pitchers duel between Bryant’s Brittany Hart and freshman Chelsey Dunham ’14. The visitors ultimately came out on top, with Hart pitching a complete game shutout en route to a 3–0 Bryant win.

Dunham took the loss despite also tossing a complete game. She allowed two earned runs and struck out four in the effort.

The Bulldogs had a chance to get on the board first in the third when they had two runners in scoring position after catcher Chelsea Janes ’12 singled and moved to third on a double from Ong. But the Elis could not drive them in, abating the threat.

The game remained scoreless until the sixth, when right fielder Lauren Guy scored from third on a passed ball to give Bryant a 1–0 lead. The visitors scored two runs to expand their lead to 3–0 in the seventh.

Still, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. First baseman Kelsey Warkentine ’13 reached first on an error, and pinch runner Kristen Leung ’14 advanced to second on a passed ball. Center fielder Tori Balta ’14 then walked to bring the tying run to the plate, but Hart worked her way out of the jam to end the Elis’ hopes for a rally.

Despite the team’s recent offensive struggles, Westman said she believes the team’s offense will get back on track soon.

“Our bats were hotter in Florida,” she said. “We haven’t been as hot since we’ve come back, but I guarantee we’ll get right back.”

Yale returns to action Wednesday when it hosts Marist in a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. at Dewitt Family Field.

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