SOFTBALL | Bulldogs disappoint in Ivy play

In its first Ivy League games of the season, the softball team came up short with only one win in four games this weekend.

The Bulldogs (7–15, 1–3 Ivy) split their doubleheader against Columbia on Friday but lost both games to Penn on Saturday. The team has won only two of its last 10 games.

“We need to figure out a way to change our approach to the plate and the game in general and come out with a killer instinct,” infielder Riley Hughes ’15 said. “We have the abilities, we just have to back those up.”

In the first game against Columbia (7–18, 1–3 Ivy), the Bulldogs did not score for the first five innings and found themselves down 4–0 in the top of the sixth. A single by Meg Johnson ’12 brought home Tori Balta ’14 and took the score to 4–1. Captain Christy Nelson ’13 singled and Kelsey Warkentine ’13 walked, leaving the bases loaded with two outs, but the Bulldogs could not deliver any more runs.

Hughes said the team needs to start each game strong rather than hope to come back against its opponents.

“We need to always come out hard in the beginning and not wait for the game to progress before we put some runs on the board,” she said. “We need to be more aggressive because it will really help our attitude and how we approach the last innings of the game.”

Though tempered by their recent loss, the Bulldogs went into the second game against Columbia feeling energetic, Kristen Leung ’14 said. For the first time in several games, the Bulldogs took an early lead and turned the tables on the Lions.

Jennifer Ong ’13 started the first inning with a single and made it around the bases with a sacrifice bunt and fly from Balta and Nelson respectively. The Lions responded with a run in the bottom of the first, but the Elis scored two in the second and one more in the fourth to bring the score to 4–1. A last-minute push by Columbia was not enough to grab the win, and Yale finished with a one-run lead.

“It was a total team effort in our wins and losses. As a group, we were good when we were good and bad when we were bad,” catcher Chelsea Janes ’12 said. (Janes is a staff columnist for the News.)

But the team’s performance to a downward turn against the Quakers (19–10, 4–0 Ivy) on Saturday.

In the first game, the Bulldogs held Penn to one run but could not manage to score. Yale left a runner on base for five of the seven innings played, but the team had only three hits and could not bring its runners home. Chelsey Dunham ’14 (5–5) pitched a good game against Penn, giving up only one run in six innings.

In the second game, the Quakers took an early lead and held it until the end. After four innings, the Bulldogs found themselves down 14–0 and on their third pitcher, Alex Lucas ’14. An impressive three runs in the top of the fifth were not enough to stave off the mercy rule, and the Bulldogs fell 14–3 after just five innings.

“Eight hits over two games against Penn is never going to do it, especially when they don’t come at the right times,” Janes said. “The scores don’t show all the potential that we had, but the scores do show something, We’re pretty disappointed.”

After a fairly promising preseason, the Bulldogs said losing to their first Ivy League competitors was crushing. Janes added that Ivy League games are “pretty much all that matter” to the team.

The Elis will have another chance to take on Ivy teams this weekend, when they face Princeton (5–18, 2–2 Ivy) on Friday and Cornell (12–11, 3–1 Ivy) on Saturday, both at home. Last year, Yale split with the Tigers but was swept by Cornell. Despite these losses, players remain confident the team can come back against its Ivy opponents next weekend.

“I think we know that we have what it takes to do well in Ivy League play,” Leung said. “We have the skills, the ability and the confidence. We just need to focus and bring it together for next weekend.”

On Wednesday, the Bulldogs will play Rhode Island (9–15) away at 3 p.m.

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