The softball team has outperformed expectations this season and played better than its record indicates, but it seems the team simply cannot catch a break.
After being swept by league-leading Dartmouth last weekend despite putting up a fight, the Bears (16-21, 5-11 Ivy) began their four-game weekend series at Harvard on a seven-game losing streak. Mirroring recent troubles, they fell victim to errors, and even with a late rally to tie the game, could not pull out a win in game one.
The Crimson (25-14, 13-3) scored two unearned runs in the first, added one in the second and three more in the fourth. Meanwhile, Brown recorded only two hits through five scoreless innings.
But this year’s Bears have a penchant for the dramatic: Twice, they’ve staged four-run rallies in their last at-bat. After RBIs in the sixth from Ashli Lotz ’19 and Christina Andrews ’17, Bruno came to bat in the seventh.
Grayson Metzger ’18 has transitioned gracefully into a utility role this season: She’s appeared in 20 games but has taken only 23 at-bats. Through her irregular playing time, she’s put up an on-base percentage of .357, up from .283 last year. Entering as a pinch-hitter against Harvard, she came through again, driving a double to right and scoring two.
Two batters later, Yeram Park ’18 stood at bat with the bases empty, representing the tying run. Against Dartmouth last weekend, Park sent a line drive down the right field line that was ruled foul, despite appearing to glance off the foul pole.
This time, there was no doubt about it. Park homered to left, tying the contest. Three outs from Katie Orona ’18 later, the game went to extras.
But again, the Bears’ luck turned against them. Bruno loaded the bases in the top of the frame but failed to score. In the bottom of the inning, Harvard took advantage of an Andrews throwing error to load the bases. Catherine Callaway put the ball in play, and Elizabeth Shively beat the throw home, winning the game for the Crimson.
In game two, Bruno fell behind once again but never made a comeback.
With Leah Nakashima ’17 on the mound, Bruno allowed four runs in the first inning, two in the second and one each in the third and fourth. As the Bears failed to score, by rule, the game was ended after five innings.
Sunday, the Bears looked to salvage the weekend with at least one win in two more games against Harvard. But Bruno’s losing ways continued, as the Crimson proved too much for the Bears to handle.
All season, the Bears have worked from behind, often falling victim to irreversible deficits. But in Sunday afternoon’s first game, it was Bruno that jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a first-inning RBI single from Sarah Syrop ’17.
But Harvard erased the lead in its half of the first with three runs and added another in the second. Bruno was stymied after the first, recording only three hits and not scoring through the end of the game.
For the Bears, the inability to sustain an offensive attack has become an unfortunate trademark. In Sunday’s finale, while Bruno appeared briefly to have found its offensive rhythm, it simply was not to be.
After the Bears scored once in the top of the first, they fell behind again, as the Crimson answered with a pair of runs. After Bruno retook the lead with two runs in the third and another in the fifth, the Crimson answered back with three more of their own. And then, in the bottom of the sixth, Harvard, with three swings of the bat that drove in six runs, took the game out of the Bears’ hands.
It was perhaps the Bears’ worst weekend of the season: They lost all four games while scoring only 12 runs and allowing 32. After a weekend against Dartmouth that, despite ending without a win, showed some signs of encouragement, the performance was particularly crushing.
Four games remain in Bruno’s season: two doubleheaders, home and away, Friday and Saturday against Yale. The Bears, who have lost 11 straight, have just one chance to secure some wins and bring their record back to something resembling a successful season.