The Yale softball team got back on track this weekend, beating Brown twice in the best-of-three series. After shutting out the Bears 5–0 in the first game and then dropping the second half of the double-header 2–1, the Elis battled back on Sunday to claim its second series win of the season against an Ivy opponent.
Entering the weekend with a 1–9 record in April, a homestand with nice weather proved to be just what the Bulldogs (10–27, 6–12 Ivy) needed. Playing in their last home games of the season ahead of the finale next weekend, the Elis honored four seniors — pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18, center fielder Sydney Ginsberg ’18, third baseman Allison Skinner ’18 and student assistant coach Maddie Wuelfing ’18. The three players put on an impressive last performance at DeWitt Family Stadium and were crucial in helping Yale secure its first wins against a conference opponent since the pair of wins over Cornell on March 31.
“This weekend truly was an amazing weekend on all fronts,” Casalino said. “On the field, we played loose and with so much energy. We really thrived through the crowd’s energy, with so many people there for senior day and alumni day, and it overall was just a fun two games to play.”
The Elis started the weekend with their fifth shutout of the season, a 5–0 win in which the three graduating players were key. Casalino, who threw a complete-game shutout against Cornell last month, blanked Brown (9–24, 3–12) with a four-hit shutout.
Yale, which scored just three runs in their previous four-game losing streak, also struggled with its offense in the beginning, tallying just one hit in the first three innings. However, the Bulldogs flipped the switch in the bottom of the fourth inning and erupted for four runs.
Skinner got the Elis going, as her single to right field scored right fielder Carlin Hagmaier ’19. Catcher Olivia Lee ’21 singled to load the bases, and shortstop Lindsay Kuss ’20 walked, scoring Casalino to increase the lead. Ginsberg then came up clutch with a two-run single to left field, which scored Skinner and Lee and made it 4–0 Yale.
The Bears failed to respond thanks to Casalino, who dominated on the mound as she earned her third win of the season. Casalino struck out two Brown players in the top of the fifth and one more in the final inning, allowed just two walks in the last three innings and retired the final six batters faced.
The Elis, meanwhile, were able to add to their lead in the sixth inning. Casalino walked to open the inning and moved to second on Skinner’s sacrifice bunt. Giovy Webb’s ’20 pinch ran for Casalino and scored when Kuss hit a long double to left field — setting the final score at 5–0.
The second game was much tighter on Brown’s defense, as Bear’s pitchers Emily Waters and Grace Ladd went head to head with Eli ace Terra Jerpbak ’19. Jerpbak pitched a complete game, conceding two unearned runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. All the scoring happened in the first inning, after which the three pitchers shut the rest of the game down, allowing just 10 hits for both teams in the remaining six innings.
Brown jumped out to a 2–0 lead in the top of the first inning. Kaitlin Okimoto led off the inning with a single, before an error by Yale first baseman Sydney Grobman ’21 allowed Okimoto to reach third and Anya Schmitz to reach first and steal second base. Although the Elis bounced back with a double play — which left runners on second and third with two outs — a two-run single to center field on the next play gave Brown the 2–0 lead.
Yale cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first inning after Hagmaier singled to center field, which scored second baseman Annie Tarte ’20. Yet, despite having runners on base in five of the next six innings, the Bulldogs were unable to convert, and the game ended at 2–1. Brown snapped a nine-game losing streak with the win.
“We really came out swinging and got the clutch hits when we needed it most [in the first game],” Casalino said. “The second game was a tough-fought game but we just couldn’t get that hit when we had runners on base. Terra and the defense did a great job at shutting Brown’s offense down after the first inning but we couldn’t push a few more across the board.”
Yale was able to finish the weekend on a high, winning Sunday’s game 3–2 in extra innings. The Bears once again jumped out to a 2–0 lead early, this time in the top of the second inning, after Annie McGregor hit a two-run single to center field that scored two. However, Yale responded once again, this time with two runs in the third inning.
The score remained knotted at two, with Bulldog pitcher Miranda Papes ’21 and her Brown counterpart permitting just two hits between them in the remaining regulation innings, sending the game into extra innings.
“Everyone on the team wanted to give our seniors an awesome last weekend,” Tarte said. “We came back out on Sunday determined to give the seniors the best send-off possible, with the marching band in the stand cheering us on.”
In extras, the Elis finally broke through in the bottom of the ninth. Yale loaded the bases with a double down the left field line and two walks; Ponce battled her way to a walk which cored Jerpbak for the winning run, finalizing the score at 3–2.
With the added momentum of their second series win against an Ivy opponent, Yale will finish its season on the road as it plays its final three-game series against Dartmouth next weekend.
“[Sunday] was a mixture of happiness and sadness due to the celebration of our seniors but also the sadness of them leaving our team,” Jerpbak said. “We look forward to our final games at Dartmouth next weekend and hope to give our seniors a few more wins to end their Yale softball careers.”
Masha Galay | email@example.com