HANOVER, N.H. – Sunday’s series finale between the Dartmouth and Yale softball teams ended in exciting fashion as sophomore Micah Schroder hit a walk-off single up the middle to bat in teammate Claire Bird and secure the 3-2 win.
UPDATE: Due to Columbia's loss on Sunday Dartmouth has clinched a spot in the Ivy League Championship Series against Harvard beginning May 12. Should the Big Green win two games this weekend against Brown they will host the series, if they take one win the ILCS will be played in Cambridge.
The game had a delayed start due to heavy rain in the overnight and morning hours, but a two-hour window with no precipitation held out as seven full innings ensued at Dartmouth Softball Park. Following the win, the Big Green improve to 19-16 on the season with a 13-5 Ivy League record, while the Bulldogs fall to 10-30 and 6-15 at the conclusion of their 2018 campaign.
In both of Saturday’s games Yale took the lead in the first inning, but that would not be the case as the home team struck first in the bottom of the second, with an aggressive offensive scheme as Tatyanah Castillo hit a sacrifice bunt to advance McKenna Gray who had singled before her, followed by a ground out from Tiffany Dyson allowing Gray to reach third on a fielder’s choice. Schroder would end up hitting the RBI single to get Gray in, taking the 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tallied one hit in the top of the third but didn’t see their runner advance past first base, and the Big Green went down in order to close out the inning. Castillo would return to help out a teammate again in the bottom of the fourth, as Calista Almer was on third after advancing on a sac bunt from Gray. A single hit right in front of home plate would help Almer score as the road team’s catcher missed the tag and then over threw to the first baseman and Castillo was safe.
Dartmouth held the 2-0 lead into the sixth inning when Yale finally put a run on the board, on a solo home run to left field from pinch hitter Phylicia Wilkov.
In the bottom of the inning the Big Green were retired in order but were only three outs away from taking the victory in the seventh inning, when the Bulldogs put up their second run of the day. Yale’s leadoff batter walked, and a pinch runner, Lindsay Kuss, came in for her. Kuss advanced to second in the next at-bat as her teammate laid down a sacrifice bunt, and then ran to home on an RBI double from Sydney Ginsberg.
Three outs away from regulation ending, Dartmouth’s offense again would come in cluctch, as Castillo led with a double to right field and Claire Bird came in to pinch run for her. Dyson followed with a bunt single, as Bird remained on second, but Schroder’s single up the middle went far enough into the outfield that Bird was able to run home with time to spare.
“It’s good for us to learn how to play in those situations,” said head coach Shannon Doepking. “I think it’s been a little bit since we’ve had to play in that situation, and for us to be able to execute and figure out what we need to do to get a game in like that in. As we go down the stretch these are great games for us to have to sit in and execute when our backs are against the wall.”
Senior Breanna Ethridge got the start on the mound and tossed six innings where she allowed one run and six hits, with four strikeouts and one error. Freshman Heather Turner came in for the final inning where the Bulldogs scored the tying run, but closed out the game with one run, hit, walk and error each.
Next weekend the Big Green play their final regular season series with a three-game home set against Brown, starting on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 12:30 p.m.