Harvard Hands Softball Two Losses, Takes Ivy Title

Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. –Penn was swept by HarvardSaturday in the inaugural softball Ivy League Championship Series. The Crimson won the first game,4-0,and took the second, 4-2.

In the first game, the Quakers could not get things going offensively as Harvard pitcher Shelly Madick pitched a complete-game no-hitter. Shestruck out seven batters and walked only one.

On the other side, Quaker pitcher Emily Denstedt pitched well under pressure in the first two innings. In the bottom of the second, with two outs, she gave up a single, walked a batter, and gave up another single to load the bases.However, Denstedt struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Harvard got on the board in the bottom of the third inning, with some help from Penn errors. The Crimson’s leadoff batter, senior Lauren Brown, singled, and was advanced to second on a bunt from Julia Kidder. Kidder reached on a throwing error by the Quakers, and Brown advanced to third on the play.

Penn intentionally walked freshman Laura Murphy, who leads the league in home runs, to load the bases with no outs. Denstedt seemed toget somecontrol of the situation, as she stuck out the next Harvard batter. But the next hitter blooped asingle to centerfield, scoring one run. A second run scored when an error was made in the outfield, advancing Murphy to third, and then asacrifice fly brought her home to giveHarvard a 3-0 lead.

The Crimson scored again in the bottom of the fifth, on a single, a double, and another single. Penn ended the inning before a second run could score, as leftfielder Teresa Leydencaughta flyout and relayed it home, where catcher Kaelin Ainley made the out at the plate.

Despite two errors, Penn had a strong game defensively. Third baseman Julia Cheney made two impressive catches on lineouts, and Ainley made a great throw to shortstop Christina Khosravi in the bottom of the sixth inning to catch a runner stealing.

Madick improved to 16-4 with the no-hitter, her first of the season. Denstedt pitched a complete game, giving up nine hits while striking out three.

In the second game, the Quakers were able to end their scoring draught, but it wasn’t enough to tie up the series.

The Crimson got on the board fast, as two walks and a fielder’s choice put runners on second and third. A double deep to left scored both, and Harvard was up, 2-0.

Penn had a shot to score in the bottom of the second inning, when Harvard pitcher Amanda Watkins walked Julia Cheney and Melissa Haffner back-to-back. But a strikeout and a groundout stranded both runners, and the Red and Blue remained scoreless.

In the bottom of the third inning, junior Annie Kinsey got on base when she was hit by a pitch. Senior Teresa Leyden got Penn’s first hit of the day, a double that bounced off the top of the leftfield fence and back into play. Senior Stephanie Reichert brought in both runners to tie the game up, hitting a double to the same spot in left field. A pop up and a groundout by Penn batters ended the inning with the score tied, 2-2.

Harvard regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Pitcher Olivia Mauro walked the first batter she faced, before giving up a two-run homer to Lauren Brown. Senior Casey Hare came in to pitch relief, retiring the next two batters to end the inning.

The Quakers had several chances to score after that, as they stranded six runners before the game was over. In the bottom of the fifth, Harvard’s coach brought Madick back in to close the game. Madick only gave up one hit all day, a single to Kinsey in the bottom of the seventh.

Hare pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the Quakers. Reichert led the way for Penn on offense, going 1-for-3 with two RBI. Kinsey and Haffner both went 1-for-2 in the second game.

With the wins, Harvardclinchedits first Ivy title since 2001 and fourth overall. The Crimson will find out their NCAA Championship fate Sunday afternoon.

Penn, meanwhile,finished the season with a 23-19 record --the most wins in school history --to give the Quakers theirfirst winning season since 1982.