The Yale softball team was crowned as the champion of the Elm City Saturday after a dramatic run through the New Haven City Series.
The tournament featured Yale, Quinnipiac University, the University of New Haven and Southern Connecticut State University competing in a single elimination format. The Bulldogs took on UNH and SCSU en route to a series victory. The Elis first game against the UNH finished in nail-biting fashion as Yale launched itself out of a two-run hole in the bottom of the seventh and final inning to obtain a 4–3 victory. The comeback was sparked by a double off the bat of team captain Tori Balta ’14, which scored outfielder Allie Souza ’16. Catcher Sarah Onorato ’15, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, singled home infielder Brittany Labbadia ‘16 to give Yale a walk-off victory.
Reflecting on the comeback, Balta said that she was confident in a Bulldog victory going into the final inning of the game.
“I knew we wouldn’t go down without a fight,” Balta said. “I knew we had a desire to win and that we would give everything we had. I’m so proud of our team.”
Fueled by the momentum of their late inning rally over UNH, the Bulldogs comfortably routed Southern Connecticut State 12-6 in the City Series championship bout. Yale was propelled to a win by a litany of scoring; the Elis quickly put three runs on the board in the first inning and never looked back. On the mound, the Bulldogs received a boost from newcomer Lindsay Efflandt ’17, who pitched a complete game for the Bulldogs. Yale’s number-one starting pitcher from last season, Chelsey Dunham ’14, was sidelined for the tournament with a broken left elbow.
Despite being unable to play, Dunham reflected positively on the Elis’ victory. She said that it was a fantastic way to end the fall season and bring energy to the team’s winter training sessions.
“The team really came together in the first game and fought until the end,” said Dunham. “Both games were great victories.”
Coming off of a 2013 season where the Bulldogs went just 10–37 and 5–15 in the Ivy League, Dunham added that the City Series championship gives the team something to build on as it prepares for the 2014 season.
“I hope these wins set the stage for an exciting spring season,” said Dunham following the tournament.
Balta echoed Dunham’s optimistic sentiments, adding that the drive the Bulldogs exhibited in their wins over UNH and SCSU would be the key to having a successful spring season. Head coach Jen Goodwin offered similarly confident opinions on the series and its impact on the upcoming season as a whole.
“With our backs against the wall we showed what we’re made of,” said Goodwin. “Our large freshman class coupled with strong leadership from our upperclassmen already puts us a step above where we were last year. We’ll continue to work on the little things, so that when the first pitch of the 2014 season comes, we’ll be ready.”
Yale will open up the 2014 season at Norfolk State in Virginia Beach, Va. on Feb. 21.