HANOVER, N.H. – Without any tricks involved, but some gusty wind, the Dartmouth softball team defeated Columbia at home on the first day of April, 5-4, to win the series in thrilling fashion.
The Big Green improve to 11-13 on the season with a 4-2 Ivy League mark while the Lions who entered the weekend in first place in the conference, fall to 11-14 and 5-4 in league action.
Three different pitchers saw action for the home team, as senior Breanna Ethridge started the day and finished with the win, Shelby Wilkison tossed 1.1 innings and Heather Turner earned the save for her work in the seventh inning.
Along with the pitching, the defensive skill of Dartmouth was what closed the game, as Tiffany Dyson made the saving catch in the outfield for the third out in the seventh inning.
“We’re just trying to enjoy today, it’s going to be a long season so we’re not going to get too far ahead of ourselves, right now there are a lot of games left,” said head coach Shannon Doepking. “We are going to enjoy this win and tomorrow we’re going to start planning for Princeton and figure out what we need to do compete against them this weekend.”
Sunday’s game started with a slightly quick tempo that slowed down as Dartmouth was able to score two runs in the third inning and take the lead. In the bottom of the third Micah Schroder hit a triple to right field, batting in Dyson who had reached first on a fielder’s choice. With Schroder on third, McKenna Gray hit a double RBI making the score 2-0 which was held through until the fifth inning.
Columbia finally tallied its first run of the afternoon in the fifth, on a solo home run from catcher Amanda Nishihira, cutting the lead to 2-1 before the home team’s scoring came to life in the bottom of the inning.
The first three batters for the Big Green loaded up the bases as Dyson reached on an error before Schroder singled to left field and Gray advanced on an error, all with no outs. Morgan Martinelli hit a sacrificy fly to center field, earning the RBI as Dyson scored. With the bases loaded again, Taylor Ward advanced to first on a pass ball and Schroder made it to home untouched scoring the fourth run. Short stop Calista Almer hit the final RBI of the inning on a single up the middle, batting in Gray taking a 5-1 lead.
Even with four-run deficit and only two innings ahead to change that, the Lions would not go away quietly.
“We knew coming in that Columbia is going to be strong late in the game, they’ve been strong for every series, I think they’ve had comebacks in almost every single game,” Doepking said. “Their coach told me before the series started that she calls them ‘the comeback kids,’ so we kind of knew it was coming and I think it shows the strength of our kids to be able to sit in it and know it’s coming, at the end of the day we got the W and that’s all that matters.”
Columbia opened the seventh with a pop up followed by two straight singles to put runners on first and second. After the runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball, Madison Gott hit a triple to right field and both runners scored as she advanced to third.
Lions’ Sommer Grzybek followed with a single to right, batting in Gott and cutting the lead to 5-4 with two outs. Turner then came in to pitch the final minutes of the inning, as Taylor Troutt managed to single to left field and put runners on first and second.
The designated hitter for the road team smacked a ball into the shallow end of center field with the wind changing its course as Dyson dove for the catch and sealed the win.
Dartmouth returns to action this weekend, continuing Ivy League play at Princeton for another three-game series starting on Saturday.