SOFTBALL | Yale stumbles in opener

In the first game, Chelsey Dunham ’14 struck out four out of 34 batters, but the Bulldogs fell 8–1.
In the first game, Chelsey Dunham ’14 struck out four out of 34 batters, but the Bulldogs fell 8–1. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

In its first action of the season on Tuesday, the softball team (0-2, 0-0 Ivy) proved unable to collect a victory, losing 8-1 and 3-1 at the hands of Central Connecticut State due to five errors by the Bulldog defense.

The Elis step up to the plate this year with a new head coach after a tough 12-34 season last year. Jen Goodwin took the position after serving for two years as the assistant executive director of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

“Coach Goodwin has brought a lot of great energy and new ideas to our team and runs highly organized and thought-out practices,” Sarah Onorato ’15 said. “The level of organization starts on the top and has really allowed us to focus in on more position-specific skills.”

In their debut, however, the Bulldogs did not get off to a fast start. The Blue Devils (4-3) started the scoring in the third inning, when a pair of walks and an error by shortstop Brittany Labbadia ’16 loaded the bases. After Chelsey Dunham ’14 walked the next batter to allow a run, she proceeded to induce a strikeout and a groundout to second to end the threat.

The top of the fourth saw right fielder Riley Hughes ’15 hit an RBI single into center field with two outs to even out the score, but that was as close as the Elis could get. Five runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth for the Blue Devils sealed the deal. Of those seven runs, six were unearned.

“We need to work on more situational defense, which is difficult to do while practicing indoors,” captain Christy Nelson ’13 said. “Our defense will definitely improve once we get back onto our field.”

Game two of the doubleheader proved just as frustrating for the Bulldogs. Yale got its first two hitters on base after an error by CCSU first baseman Tessa Brown and a hit by pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Nelson moved the runners into scoring position, but the Elis could only muster one off of a Lauren Delgadillo ’16 single to right field.

Delgadillo was the only Bulldog to collect hits in both games, going 1-3 with a run in the first game and 2-3 with an RBI in the nightcap.

In the bottom of the first, however, the Bulldogs did themselves in. Rhydian Glass ’16, taking the hill in her first career start, yielded a homer to No. 2 hitter Kat Malcolm and later committed a two-out error that resulted in two unearned runs for the Blue Devils to wrap up the scoring early.

The game finished 3-1 in five innings, ending early due to darkness.

“The team was a bit hesitant at the plate and in the field since it was our first game of the season … but there were still some good moments in the games,” Nelson said.

This weekend, the Bulldogs kick off their spring break by traveling to the Pacific Northwest, where they’ll play at the University of Washington softball tournament in Seattle.

“We’re facing good competition, and it’s a good way to jump into the season,” said Hughes, who hails from Seattle. “For me and the others from the Puget Sound area, it’s really exciting to be able to go back and play there.”

Three Yale players hail from the Western Washington area, including Hughes, infielder Hannah Brennan ’15 and pitcher Kylie Williamson ’15.

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