The softball team’s spring break began with rain and eight straight losses, but ended with sunshine and two victories.
The Bulldogs (2–8) fell to Bethune-Cookman (11–13) and UConn (6–9) and dropped three games to Stetson (15–11) at the Stetson Classic in DeLand, Fla., before losing to Stony Brook (6–7), Quinnipiac (10–13) and Fairfield (8–10) at the Stony Brook Tournament on Long Island.
The Elis finished spring break with victories over Holy Cross (4–9) and the Bobcats in Stony Brook.
The Yale season started on a low note, as rain forced the team to postpone its opening match against UConn. The team was excited to play against the experienced teams at the Stetson Classic who had already played a combined 40 games, so the postponement dampened their spirits a bit, said infielder Jennifer Ong ’13.
However, when the Bulldogs finally played their first game, they got a good contest.
The Elis started off strong against Bethune-Cookman as outfielder and captain Ashley Sloan ’10 led off the first inning with a single and later scored off a single from outfielder Lauren Huddleston ’10.
However, Bethune-Cookman responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to take a 2–1 lead. The rest of the game would be a pitcher’s battle, as neither defense surrendered another run for the rest of the game, giving Bethune-Cookman the victory.
Pitcher Holly Gutterud ’10, playing for the first time since 2008, finished the game giving up eight hits with four strikeouts through six innings of work.
The Bulldogs would prove unable to put enough runs on the board for the next few games, scoring a combined six runs in seven games in losses to Stetson, UConn, Stony Brook, Quinnipiac and Fairfield.
“We had a tough time stringing the hits together,” pitcher Jackie Manzer ’13 said. “We needed some timely hits.”
The Bulldog offense finally came alive this past Sunday against Holy Cross in the first game of a doubleheader. Trailing the Crusaders 1–0 in the fourth inning, Sloan started a rally with a single up the middle. Ong advanced Sloan with a bunt single, who later scored on a wild pitch. Utility player Christy Nelson ’13 batted in another run later in the inning. The Elis also scored three times in the sixth inning, finishing the game with a 5–1 victory.
Pitcher Kayla Kuretich ’10 had a complete game with four scattered hits, one earned run and nine strikeouts in the team’s first win.
The Blue came out gunning in the second game against Quinnipiac, scoring twice in the first inning and twice in the second inning to eke out a 4–2 victory. Infielder Meg Johnson ’10 led the team with two hits and two RBIs. Gutterud pitched five innings and struck out four.
Overall, the two tournaments were an important learning experience for the Elis, who have five freshmen expected to make contributions, Johnson said.
“Our group of freshmen is one of the strongest classes I’ve ever seen,” she said. “If we can keep up our hitting, I don’t think there’s a team in the Ivy League that can catch up with us.”
The Bulldogs next play a doubleheader at Marist on Wednesday. The games will start at 2:30 p.m.