SOFTBALL | Despite comeback, Bulldogs fall short

The softball team has a total of 62 runs and 118 hits so far this season.
The softball team has a total of 62 runs and 118 hits so far this season. Photo by Brianne Bowen.

Fairfield swept the softball team yesterday, leaving Yale with five losses in six games. The Bulldogs, who have now lost their last six contests against the Stags, fell 5–4 in the first game and 6–2 in the second, hurting their momentum as they prepare for their first Ivy League competition of the season this weekend.

“We’re a better team than how we were playing today,” pitcher Chelsey Dunham ’14 said. “We just need to play with a lot more confidence.”

Although stormy weather early in the day threatened to call the game, by the time the Elis (6–12, 0–0 Ivy) took the field, the sun had came out and the game proceeded as planned.

Fairfield (14–15) began the first game with four runs in the bottom of the first, while the Bulldogs were held scoreless for the first four innings. In the top of the fifth, the Elis scored their first run, but the Stags responded with a run of their own in the sixth, bringing the score to 5–1. A last-minute comeback by the Bulldogs in the top of the seventh was not enough to snatch the lead, and they lost the game 5–4.

Prior to Wednesday, the Bulldogs had fought into extra innings in four of their last six games. While team members said this was an aspect of the team’s never-give-up attitude, they also said it was time to take the initiative early in the game and stop comebacks from being necessary.

“The ball’s not going to hit itself,” shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 said. “We need to stop playing catch-up and get control of the game early on.”

In the second game against Fairfield, Yale seemed off to a good start with an early run in the top of the first by Tori Balta ’14. But the Stags soon regained control with a two-run response in the bottom of the first. With only one hit in the next three innings, the Bulldogs found themselves down 5–1 after Fairfield scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

As usual, the Bulldogs prepared themselves for a comeback. The top of the fifth looked promising. Riley Hughes ’15 started the inning with a single to left field. Jennifer Ong ’13 walked, and Balta made her way to first off of a fielder’s choice. An RBI single by Sarah Onorato ’15 brought Ong home and took the score to 5–2. Johnson singled, loading the bases with only one out and bringing the go-ahead run to batter’s box. But Yale did not capitalize on the situation. Captain Christy Nelson ’13 struck out and Hannah Brennan ’15 ended the inning with a ground ball to the pitcher, leaving three on base and ending the Bulldog’s chance for retribution. Yale would not threaten again, and a run for the Stags in the bottom of the fifth sealed their 6–2 win.

Dunham (4–5) took the loss for the second game. After attempting to change her throwing style mid-season, she lost two games last weekend. She said she hopes to recover before Ivy play on Friday.

“I don’t have a lot of drive with my pitches, and I’m still stuck between these two styles,” Dunham said. “I’m trying to get back to how I was throwing in Florida.”

This weekend, the Elis will face Columbia (5–14, 0–0 Ivy) on Friday and Penn (15–10, 0–0 Ivy) on Saturday. Ong said the ingredients for victories this weekend are there; the team just has to put all the elements together. The Bulldogs swept both teams last year.

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