2013 was a magical season for the Penn softball team, as the Quakers captured their second-ever Ivy title and made their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Nine different Red and Blue players earned All-Ivy honors at the end of the magical season, which made choosing the top five moments from the campaign a difficult task. Read on and find out what made the cut:
It was fitting that then-sophomore pitcher Alexis Borden was the key figure in Penn’s crowning 2013 moment. The unanimous first team All-Ivy selection shut Dartmouth down in the third and deciding game of the Ivy League championship series, escaping two bases-loaded situations in a complete game effort as the Quakers won, 3-2.
“That’s one of [Borden’s] strengths. When she does get runners on she does bear down very well,” coach Leslie King said. “She’s tough in those situations and we had all the confidence in the world in her.”
2. Doing the dirty work
But the Red and Blue wouldn’t have had the chance to clinch the title on its home field if it wasn’t for some late heroics in a doubleheader a week prior against Columbia on April 27.
In game one, then-senior Jessica Arneson smacked a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to make another complete game effort from Borden hold up, before then-junior Georgia Guttadauro’s grand slam was enough to push Penn to a 12-4 win in only six innings.
3. This is SportsCenter
Penn might have been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament when it fell to Arizona in 8 innings, 2-1, but the Red and Blue still received plenty of recognition for their efforts. Guttadauro’s diving catch of a foul pop by first base earned No. 2 honors on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the evening.
“I think what’s important is that we aren’t out of our league with level of play [here] and we showed that today,” she said. “We played Penn softball and that I’m really proud of.”
4. Nothing quite like a no-no
Setting program records for strikeouts and career victories, Alexis Borden had a dominant 2013 season. Her best effort may very well have been a mercy rule-shortened, 8-0 no-hitter against Lafayette on Mar. 15. The Yorba Linda, CA native struck out seven batters and walked four in her first no-hit effort since a perfect game against Cornell in 2012.
“I felt like my rhythm was a little off, because we were walking a lot of girls ... but we worked out of it,” she said.
5. Stronger than the streak
Borden’s no-hitter sparked an epic run for the Quakers. From March 15 to March 29, the Quakers won eight consecutive games while sweeping four doubleheaders. The grand finale - a 6-3, 7-2 stomping of Harvard at Penn Park - featured Borden becoming the school’s all-time strikeout leader, while Penn received four home runs over the course of the doubleheader.
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