Penn Park was bursting with excited fans and an electric energy as the Penn softball team took on Dartmouth in the first Ivy League Championship series to ever be played on Penn soil.
The Quakers failed to wrap up the title with a sweep, edging the Big Green in the first matchup, 1-0, and losing the second game, 6-2. The ILCS will be decided Sunday at Penn Park, at 1 p.m.
The Quakers (29-18, 16-4 Ivy) have climbed their way to the cusp of Ivy glory with consistent diamond work from sophomore pitcher Alexis Borden and a top ranking among Ivies in runs scored and RBIs.
But Penn’s potent offense sputtered Saturday, tallying just three runs on nine hits in two games.
The first game was a pure pitcher’s battle between two of the greatest Ivy pitchers in recent years, Borden and Dartmouth sophomore Kristen Rumley. Both pitchers closed out their halves of the first inning with nothing across.
But the Quakers got going in the bottom of the second. Senior outfielder Brooke Coloma reached first base on a Dartmouth error. Then, junior third baseman Kayla Dahlerbruch notched a single.
After steals by both Coloma and Dahlerbruch, the Big Green erred again, tagging Coloma out and leaving Dahlerbruch at third. Junior first baseman Georgia Guttadauro then cracked an RBI single, plating Dahlerbruch and giving Penn the advantage.
The rest of the matchup was a deadlock. Between both teams, only three hits would occur and the other on base moves were results of errors. Stellar defensive play once again allowed Penn to close the opening game of the series out in the top of the seventh, injecting confidence and life into Penn Park.
The second game of the doubleheader brought the Quakers back to square one.
Rumley began the second contest in familiar fashion, dispensing the Quakers with no hits. But the bottom of the second would prove most bizarre. After Dartmouth notched a single and a walk, its third at bat yielded a putout. The runner at third sprinted for home plate and despite the defensive efforts of senior catcher Jessica Arneson, the umpire called an obstruction on Penn and rewarded Dartmouth a run.
The Quakers were visibly disturbed by the call and surrendered another run in the third off of an RBI double by Big Green.
Trying to shake off their mental lapse, the Red and Blue’s Dahlerbruch would hit a single followed by a home run by senior outfielder Jessica Melendez. It seemed that the momentum was once again with the home team.
But the sixth inning would end the Quakers’ hope of a sweep. A three-run homer and a solo home run by Dartmouth put Penn in a 6-2 hole that lasted till the end.
A Penn win would give the Quakers an Ivy League title for the first time since 1981.
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