Softball is a game of talent and skill, but as in any sport, luck is sometimes needed to prevail — and on Tuesday afternoon, the Bulldogs did not have it on their side.
Two days after sweeping a doubleheader against Harvard, Yale (16-18, 5-7 Ivy) returned to Cambridge and saw their fortunes reversed. Unable to find holes in the Crimson (21-12, 7-5) defense, the Elis could not get their offense going as they fell 4-0 in game one and 1-0 in game two.
“It is frustrating,” Mariclaire Rebman ’11 said. “It just shows you have to be ready every day, and that even if you beat that team before, they can come back a different day and play very well.”
The Elis’ inability to score runs squandered solid pitching performances by the Yale starters in the circle. In game one, Rebecca Wojciak allowed just four runs over six innings and struck out seven but was outdueled by her counterpart. Harvard’s Rachel Brown tossed a complete game one-hitter to improve her record to 12-5. The freshman hurler allowed just three baserunners and retired the last 11 hitters she faced.
The game was a scoreless tie until the Crimson put a run up in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to put it out of reach for the Bulldogs.
The lone Yale hit came on a Megan Enyeart ’09 infield single in the second inning. Centerfielder Ashley Sloan ’10 and designated player Katie Edwards ’09 each drew walks in the third and fourth, respectively.
But the Elis were putting the ball in play and simply couldn’t find the holes in the defense — Brown struck out just five.
“Offensively we struggled, but that’s part of the game,” shortstop Meg Johnson ’12 said. “Harvard was able to string together lucky hits at the right time; we don’t seem to have luck on our side.”
In game two, Yale found more misfortune.
The Bulldogs outhit the Cantabs, 4-3, but were shutout again. The lone run of the game was scored in the first inning without a hit. A walk to Emily Henderson led to her stealing second, advancing to third on a sacrifice, and scoring on an error.
Yale looked poised to score in the next half inning when Enyeart tripled with two outs in the second inning. But Rebman’s grounder in the hole was snagged by Crimson shortstop Bailey Vertovez who then threw out Rebman to end the inning.
Junior Margaux Black got her first win of the season, throwing a complete game four-hitter and striking out six without walking a batter.
“Obviously we are never happy when we only get four hits in two games, but it’s not for a lack of trying,” Edwards said. “It’s one of the unfortunate aspects of our sport. Sometimes the hits fall, and sometimes the second basemen makes a jumping catch to grab a line drive out of the air.”
For the Bulldogs, pitcher Deanna DiBernardi ’09 was just as dominant on the mound in the losing effort. Dibernardi allowed just the one unearned run, three hits, and one walk over six innings.
“Our two pitchers did absolutely phenomenal today, and I wish we could have had the same offense that we’ve had the past few weeks to back them up more, but all the ‘could have, would have, should haves’ don’t matter now,” Johnson said. “It’s all about the next game.”
Rain on Saturday postponed Saturday’s games to Tuesday — did not make things any easier for Yale. Players on the team had to miss classes they didn’t expect to and had to endure another bus ride to Cambridge.
“Clearly, we would have preferred playing over the weekend and not missing classes and taking the bus there and back but we got to roll with things and not let it affect us,” the captain Enyeart said. “And I don’t think it did.”
The Elis now have eight conference games remaining on the schedule and 12 overall. Before they can prepare for a crucial Ivy League weekend when first-place Dartmouth (18-14, 9-3) visits this weekend for four games, the Bulldogs will have to battle Sacred Heart today at Dewitt Family Field. The teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.
“We need to keep up the positive attitude we’ve had and not let disappointments like this get into our heads,” Johnson said. “We still have a chance at Ivies — we just need to keep telling ourselves that.”