If the softball team hopes to win against Harvard this weekend, the Bulldogs will need to bring their best play to the field.
While the Bulldogs have lost the last 10 games, the Crimson has excelled this season. Harvard (20–10, 7–1 Ivy) boasts the best record in the Ivy League while Yale (7–23, 1–7) sits at the bottom of the list. Team members said that to take on their northern rival, the Bulldogs have to play aggressively and put their hours of training to use.
“We know we can beat them, but we also know it will be an intense game” Hannah Brennan ’15 said. “If we play the best game we can, we’ll come out on top.”
Felling Harvard will not be easy. Harvard pitcher Rachel Brown has allowed an average of four hits per game and struck out 143 batters this season, placing her seventh and ninth in the NCAA, respectively. With a batting average of .451, the tenth best in the NCAA, infielder Jane Alexander poses an additional threat to the Bulldogs’ defense.
Kylie Williamson ’15 said the team has been working especially hard in preparation for this weekend and has focused on being “sharp with defense and strong with the bat.”
The team is starting to look more at opponents’ statistics, she added. Knowing the other teams’ batters better is particularly helpful for the Bulldogs’ pitchers and catchers, Williamson said.
The Bulldogs last played on Wednesday, when they fell 6–0, 6–3 in a doubleheader against Wagner. Although Chelsea Janes ’12 said the team was hoping to go into this weekend with a win right behind them, she added that the team still felt confident and enthusiastic. Janes is a staff columnist for the News.
“Every single one of us knows the best way to reverse [Wednesday’s game] is a win over Harvard,” Janes said. “[The game] didn’t affect our belief in or ability to get wins this weekend. If anything, we now have further incentive. We saw some good progress at the plate and will be ready to make our best effort at beating Harvard this weekend.”
Last year, Harvard won all four games of the weekend contest. Three were easy victories and finished in fewer than the standard seven innings, but one game came incredibly close. Though the Bulldogs scored a stellar five runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game 11–11, Harvard responded with a triple and RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to clinch the victory.
Throughout this year, the Bulldogs have shown a tendency to come back from steep losses to narrow the scoring gap late in the game. Team members have said continually the team dynamic remains strong, and the Elis support each other regardless of the game’s outcome.
“Everybody is still staying together,” Williamson said. “Everybody’s heads are still up. We are still fighting every game and we haven’t given up by any means. We’re just waiting for a spark.”
The Bulldogs will face the Crimson at home Saturday and Sunday. The first pitch is at 12:30 p.m.