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Around the Ivies: Softball

Softball_KristieLiao

One week of regular-season play remains, and it remains to be seen who will take the North Division title. Northerners Harvard and Dartmouth have particularly strong sides this year. Their upcoming series will likely determine who will get home-field advantage in the postseason, and who will be left out of the championship series. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Ancient Eight stack up.

  1. Dartmouth (26-14 overall, 15-1 Ivy League): While the Big Green lost its final game of last weekend’s series to Brown, the women of Hanover had won their previous 16 games in what has been a nearly perfect Ivy season. Dartmouth presents dangerous threats on both offense and defense: the Big Green’s Kelsey Miller is currently batting .373, good for third-highest in the league, and hurler Kristen Rumley has the second lowest ERA in the conference with 1.91.
  2. Penn (15-17, 10-5): Winners of eight of their last 10 Ivy games, the Quakers have turned their conference season around remarkably over the last few weeks. A strong performance in this weekend’s four-game series against Columbia will solidify them as winners of the Ivy South Division. Leah Allen’s .417 batting average is currently the best of all Ivy Leaguers, as is her mark of 34 RBI. Alexis Borden leads the Quaker pitching staff with a 2.15 ERA, currently third-best in the league.
  3. Harvard (27-11, 13-0): The gap between Harvard and the two teams above is miniscule as the Crimson has not lost since March 21 and currently boasts a perfect conference record. At the same time, though, Harvard only played one game against Penn because the other game was suspended. The mettle of the Cambridge women will truly be tested this weekend when they take on Dartmouth. Kasey Lange’s .387 batting average and 29 RBI are both second-best in the league, and Laura Ricciardone has the lowest ERA (1.48) and most wins (17) of all Ivy pitchers this season.
  4. Princeton (15-24, 7-9): The Tigers currently sit three games out of first in the Ivy South. This weekend’s season against a mediocre Cornell side could give Princeton a chance to climb to the top of the Ivy South, should it sweep the Big Red while Columbia takes exactly three of four games against Penn. Bizarrely, Princeton is the only team in the league currently coming off a win. Freshman pitcher Erica Nori currently has the fourth-lowest ERA (2.21) and the fourth-most wins (eight) in the Ivy League.
  5. Columbia (21-19, 8-8): These New York City softballers, like their stateswomen below, sit around the middle of the pack in scoring. They have managed 61 runs through 16 games. A recent bright spot was the stellar performance of infielder Alyssa Rodia, who won both Player and Rookie of the Week honors. In six games over four days, she tallied 10 hits in 19 at-bats, three homers, nine RBIs and eight runs. Wow. With a few wins over Penn, Columbia could upset the Quakers and take the title of the South Division.
  6. Cornell (15-23, 6-8): The Big Red will have a chance to improve on its subpar 2013 performance where it finished 8-12 in league play. However, the Ithaca side will have to do so on an away diamond, as it will be in Princeton for a pair of doubleheaders. A run total of 65, through 14 conference games, puts the Big Red just above the league average. In what has been a very poor effort from the pitching mound, Cornell’s rotation has allowed a league worst 5.33 earned runs on average.
  7. Yale (5-32. 1-15): It is quite shocking that the Bulldogs have been unable to put together more than 26 runs in 16 games. A batting average of .197 indicates a substantial dearth of offensive ability. Only three players have scored double-digit runs, and only four have knocked in home runs. Yale will likely find itself very close the bottom of the league, one year after winning only five of 20 games.
  8. Brown (3-31, 1-15): The Bears are likewise a mess, struggling offensively and defensively. In the former category, the Providence squad has produced only 30 runs. Additionally, Brown batters have been struck out an in-league high of 104 times. That’s 20 more than the next worst team (which is, unsurprisingly, Yale). The pitching has yielded a nigh-unwinnable ERA of 4.76. What’s more, the 23 errors are the worst in conference play. Maybe next year, Bruno.
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