The softball team’s season got off to an auspicious start last weekend.
Yale (2-0) won both games of its season-opening double-header against Quinnipiac (0-2) Saturday. The Bulldogs took the first game 5-0 and then came back from a four-run deficit to defeat the Braves in eight innings, 5-4.
In the shutout victory, Cara Denver ’02 pitched a complete game, allowing only one hit and no walks. Denver picked up where she left off last season, when she led the Elis in wins, innings, strikeouts, and earned run average.
“With Cara pitching, we’re always going to be in the game,” head coach Andy Van Etten said. “She’s not known as a strikeout pitcher, but she consistently throws ground balls and pop ups.”
Shayna Filson ’04 led the Bulldogs on offense, batting 2-3 with two RBI’s. In the bottom of the third, Filson doubled to left center, scoring Jesseka Bartholomew ’03 and Amy Drega ’03.
Filson’s shot would have been a home run, Van Etten said, but the teams were forced to play on Yale’s practice field because of unplayable field conditions at the William O. Dewitt Jr. ’63 Family Field. With no fence around the practice field, the Quinnipiac outfielders forced Filson to hold up at second base.
But Filson got her revenge in the second game of the double-header, blasting a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to narrow the score to 4-3. Filson had started that game on the mound, but Quinnipiac jumped all over her early, taking a 4-0 lead after three innings.
“I think it was really good for us to start off with a good little test in the beginning [of the season],” said Jackie Crispell ’03 of the come-from-behind victory. “It kind of woke us up to fall behind early.”
Filson’s home run provided the spark for her teammates as Bartholomew doubled in the bottom of the seventh to score the game-tying run. Crispell then came through for the Elis as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth. The junior hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Kristy Kwiatkowski ’05.
“I was really pumped up to go back in, especially when it was a crucial point,” Crispell said. “I was a little cold coming off the bench, but there was a runner on third and I had one out, so I didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure on me.”
Jillian Miles ’04 logged five innings of relief pitching in the contest, allowing just two hits and no runs.
The Bulldogs head into the season looking to build on their 24-21 record and fifth-place Ivy finish from last year. The team has compensated for the loss of three seniors with the addition of seven freshmen, including Kwiatkowski, a two-time all-state selection from New Jersey. On the mound, Van Etten will rely on Denver, Filson and Miles for most of the pitching duties.
“I think we’re much better defensively this year than we were last year,” Van Etten said. “If our pitching comes through, we’ll be pushing some people around for that first spot in the Ivies.”
Yale travels to Central Connecticut today for a double-header before heading down to Florida for an eight-day, 12-game trip.
“Florida’s really a time when we play a lot of games and try to get a lot of experience,” Denver said. “Everyone moves around a lot and plays a lot of positions. The main goal is to improve and come back to New Haven better and prepared for the Ivies.”