For Penn softball, winning the Ivy South was easy as one-two-three.
The Quakers silenced Columbia with three consecutive resounding victories to clinch the South Division title and an Ivy League Championship berth.
Penn (18-19, 13-6 Ivy) kicked off its last South Division series of the season with a doubleheader at Penn Park on Friday.
The day was especially emotional for the Quakers given that it was the last time the team’s three seniors – outfielder Kristen Johnson, catcher Elysse Gorney and third baseman Kayla Dahlerbruch – played a doubleheader in Penn Park.
The Quakers came out guns-a-blazing, scoring 19 runs in just 10 innings. The Quakers invoked the mercy rule on the Lions (22-22, 9-11) in both games, winning 10-0 and 9-1.
The hitting brigade was led by standout freshman outfielder Leah Allen. In just three trips to the batter’s box, Allen hit one homerun and knocked in four runs.
Johnson provided the most meaningful hit of the game though. Leading off the top of the second inning, she launched a blast clear past the fence, earning her first homerun of the season.
Penn’s bats stayed hot throughout the second game, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning alone. In freshman pitcher Alexis Sargent’s first at bat of the game, she hit a home run with two runners on base, giving the Red and Blue an early three-run lead.
“Those home runs were really the nail in the coffin for us,” coach Leslie King said.
On Saturday morning Penn headed to New York to finish up the series. The Quakers won their first bout of the day 3-1 but battled through a tough 6-5 loss in the final game.
In the first two innings of the second game, the Quakers looked unshakeable, tallying five runs and holding the Lions scoreless. As the game progressed, Columbia slowly eroded Penn’s lead, ultimately batting in the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
However, the loss was inconsequential for the Quakers––as long as they won three games against Columbia for the weekend, they would guarantee a spot in the Ivy League Championship final by winning the Ivy South title.
Penn does not yet know who they will face in the championship game May 3, as the deciding series of the North Division between Harvard and Dartmouth was rained out on Saturday and will be played out over the next few days.
“I don’t have an opinion on who I’d prefer to play,” King explained. “I’m just happy to be in the championship series and happy to have the opportunity to play.”
In the meantime, the Quakers aren’t going to twiddle their thumbs worrying about who their future foe will be.
“Every time we go out on the field, whether it’s a practice or a game, we’re preparing to win an Ivy League championship,” King said.
“That’s what we’ve been about all year. That’s what we’ll continue to do.”