PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania softball team (18-20-1, 13-6-1 Ivy) has defended its Ivy Champion title all season and only one final test remains: the Ivy League Softball Championship Series. Once again, the Quakers will meet Dartmouth (29-16, 18-2 Ivy) for the Ancient Eight title, but unlike last year, this year’s championship will be hosted by the Big Green on Saturday at the Dartmouth Softball Park in Hanover, N.H.
About the ILCS
The Ivy League Softball Championship Series is a best-of-three format, with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. Game Two will follow the conclusion of the first and if needed, a third game will be played on Sunday, May 4 at 1 p.m.
The South Division champ has won four of the seven previous championship series, while the home team has won all seven series to date. Only three of the seven contests have gone to a decisive third game, including Penn’s win last year.
A live video feed for the Ivy League Softball Championship Series on Saturday and Sunday will be provided by the Ivy League Digital Network. Four packages are available to purchase, including a $9.95/day pass for everything Penn. See http://www.ivyleaguedigitalnetwork.com/packages for full details.
You can also follow all the action on live stats:
Links for the video stream and stats can also be found on the Penn softball schedule.
Road to the Championship Series
Going into the last weekend of Ivy play, Penn’s magic number to claim the South Division outright was three. On Friday at Penn Park, the Quakers took care of business quickly, ending both contests with the Lions early. In New York on Saturday, the Red and Blue needed one more win to lock up the crown and did just that in the opening game, winning the South Division for the third year in a row.
After suffering its first Ivy loss to Brown, Dartmouth needed to win the series over Harvard for a chance at the title. Due to rain, the Big Green and Crimson were forced to shift the first two games of the series to Hanover, where the two teams each took one. In Cambridge, the Big Green powered their way through the next two games, taking down the Crimson for the North Division title.
Penn and Dartmouth are no strangers. Aside from regular season contests, it was only last year that the two teams found themselves playing for the Ivy title in Philadelphia, where the Quakers prevailed in three games.
After falling behind 2-0 in Game Three, the Red and Blue rallied for the win over the Big Green on a Kayla Dahlerbruch home run in the fourth inning.
Penn went on to its first NCAA postseason play, facing Texas A&M first before being eliminated after a close loss to Arizona, 3-2 in eight innings.
Since the championship series began in 2007, the Quakers will appear in their fourth ILCS with a 1-2 record, while Dartmouth will contend in its third with a 0-2 mark. The Red and Blue competed in the first championship series where they fell to Harvard in two games. Penn’s second loss also came in two games against Harvard in 2012.
The Big Green made their first appearance in the championship series in 2009 with Cornell. It was the first year that the series went to three games, with the Big Red winnings Game One and Three.
Around the League
It’s to no surprise that the two teams playing the in Ivy League Championship Series have several players among the League’s individual leaders.
In the batting average race, Dartmouth’s Morgan McCalmon currently holds the lead with .424, while freshman Leah Allen sits right behind her at .384. Also in the hunt for the top spot is Kelsey Miller (.350), Katie McEachern (.342), sophomore Kanani Datan (.341) and senior tri-captain Elysse Gorney (.330).
While Allen may not hold the top batting average, she leads the League in slugging percentage, home runs, and RBI. Her 13 home runs -- a new Penn single-season record – have helped her to collect 41 RBI – tied for the most RBI by a Quaker in a single season – and slug .776 on the season.
Behind Allen in all three categories is freshman Alexis Sargent, while McEachern is trying to catch her in two. Sargent has nine home runs, 25 RBI, and a .608 slugging percentage. McEachern is slugging .611 with seven home runs.
Once again, the pitching matchup will highlight two of the best pitchers in the League – juniors Kristen Rumley and Alexis Borden. On the season, Rumley has tossed 179 strikeouts and has a 1.85 ERA. Borden is right behind with a 1.91 ERA and 120 strikeouts.