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Bombers narrowly defeat Red Dragons in back-to-back one-run doubleheaders

First-year+student+second+baseman+Elise+Waddington+follows+through+with+her+swing+against+the+SUNY+Cortland+Red+Dragons+on+April+23.+Waddington+contributed+two+RBIs+in+the+second+game.
Mei Dennison
First-year student second baseman Elise Waddington follows through with her swing against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons on April 23. Waddington contributed two RBIs in the second game.

The two games played at Kostrinsky Field on April 23 could not have been any more different. However, both ended with the same result as the Ithaca College softball team earned two one-run victories against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons by scores of 1–0 and 9–8, with the latter contest going to nine innings.

First Game:

The game’s first and only run would come in the bottom of the second inning. Following a two-out single up the middle from sophomore utility Ava Rao and a walk from senior center fielder Belle de Oliveira, junior shortstop Sela Scheinman singled through second base. Rao was able to slide into home just before the throw got to the plate for the tag, giving the Bombers a lead they would not relinquish.

The real stars of the show were the two starting pitchers, who would both end up going the distance. Cortland junior pitcher/infielder McKenna Barry put together a great game, allowing eight hits, the aforementioned earned run, and three walks with one strikeout over six innings. An impressive outing, but outclassed by junior pitcher Anna Cornell. The ace threw a complete game shutout while allowing just six hits and one walk, striking out six batters.

After the game, Cornell said she felt that the key to her dominating performance in a rivalry came down to faith in herself and her teammates.

“I think games like this come down to little things,” Cornell said. “So I came into the game ready to hit my spots in that way and also know that when I didn’t, the defense had my back. You know, it’s little things when you play a rival like that.”

Second Game:

By comparison, game two was an instant classic, but it did not start that way.

With runners on first and second in the bottom of the first, Sydney Miranda, first-year first baseman, singled into center field, scoring Jessie Lopez, sophomore left fielder, and a poor throw home allowed sophomore catcher Haley Petrucci to reach third while Miranda got to second. Senior right fielder Hudson Hassler then hammered a ball to the right field wall for a bases-clearing double and a 3–0 Bomber lead.

Things got even more out of hand in the bottom of the second inning. Rao, Scheinman and Lopez all walked to create a bases-loaded situation for first-year second baseman Elise Waddington. The young infielder made her chance count, lining a single over the third baseman and scoring two. Petrucci then stepped up to the plate and mashed a ball into left-center for home run number 12 on the season and an 8–0 Bomber lead.

After first-year pitcher Mady Rowell came in at the top of the fourth, an error in center field and a botched double play made the game 8–4. The Ithaca faithful in the crowd started to get nervous at the top of the sixth as the Red Dragons made the score 8–6 by the middle of the sixth inning.

Red Dragons’ sophomore pitcher Kim Westenberg completely stifled the Bombers hitters throughout this comeback, allowing no walks or earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched.

Senior pitcher Ainsley Rogers came in to close for the Bombers in the bottom of the seventh, but her error on what should have been a routine groundout to the pitcher would end up costing the South Hill squad dearly. Two straight groundouts would score a run rather than end the game, and a double off of the left-center wall for junior catcher Julz Koch would complete the hour-long breakdown to send the game into extras.

After the Bombers held their own on defense, Scheinman said the strategy at the beginning of the bottom of the ninth was the same as usual in a tie game with ghost runners.

“Honestly, I really wanted to swing away,” Scheinman said. “I felt like I’d been getting pretty solid contact all day so I kind of wanted to just knock her in, but coach came out to me. She was like ‘Let’s go for the sac.’”

Scheinman bunted, the throw to first was dropped, de Oliveira rounded third as the ghost runner to reach home plate ending in a Bombers’ win.

Head coach Kelly Robichaud ’16 said she was happy with the perseverance her team showed amid two close games.

“I just was so excited to see us compete for all the innings that we played today,” Robichaud said. “We stayed the course and we took care of business, which is exciting to see, seeing the fight in the team.”

Scheinman said there were a few extra incentives to winning this game as well.

“It feels really great for a lot of reasons,” Scheinman said. “One, like there’s a coach on that team [Deb Pallozzi] that was like a legacy coach here for a long time. So winning this game was a really big deal… Since being here in Ithaca [I] haven’t played Cortland in the regular season, so we really, really wanted the sweep so it felt really good.”

Looking Ahead:

The 21–10 Bombers will face another difficult doubleheader, this time against the 21–7 University of Rochester Yellowjackets at 3 and 5 p.m. April 27 in Rochester, New York.

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