PHILADELPHIA The Penn softball team is opening their Ivy League schedule early this year, as they will host Columbia on Saturday, and travel to New York for a second round of action on Sunday. The first pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is schedule for 1 p.m.
The Quakers are 8-6 overall, and coming off of a tough spilt with Lafayette. The Lions are returning from the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla., where they went 8-7. They are 9-10 overall.
Thursday, the Red and Blue played their first game in eight days, as they hosted the Leopards for a doubleheader. Penn dropped the first game, 6-5 after problems on defense. But the Quakers came back in the second game to shut Lafayette out, and win, 5-0.
Junior Annie Kinsey leads the Quakers offensively, with a .453 batting average and 24 hits, including a team-high five doubles. Senior Stephanie Reichert is another key part of the Red and Blue’s lineup, as she leads the team in RBI (15), slugging percentage (.723), and home runs (3 tied with senior Brandi King).
The pitching staff is led by two strong starters, senior Olivia Mauro, and sophomore Emily Denstedt. Mauro has an ERA of 1.59, and has started the season 2-1. Denstedt has pitched four complete games, for a 4-3 record, with an ERA of 2.05. Senior Erin Boyle has also been a key component from the bullpen, as she’s gone 2-2 in relief, and earned her first save of the season against Lafayette.
For Columbia, young pitching will be the name of the game. Freshman Aimee Kemp was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, for her performance on the mound in Florida. Kemp is 6-4 on the season, including two shutouts, with an ERA of 2.97. Sophomore Chantee Dempsey leads the Lions on offense, with a .420 batting average and 21 hits.
The League and now Division rivals have faced similar opponents this season, with similar results. At the Rebel Games, the Lions beat Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, 10-3, and lost to Fairleigh-Dickinson, 3-1. The Quakers saw both teams in Florida as well, beating IPFW, 14-9, and taking a solid win over FDU, 10-2.
Last year, Columbia took both games from Penn, winning 8-0 and 9-1. This year, the Quakers will have four shots at the Lions, starting with a doubleheader at Warren Field on Saturday. The battle will move to New York on Sunday, as Columbia hosts the second pair of games. Both match-ups are slated to start at 1 p.m.