It might have been the craziest game of the season, but that didn't prevent the Quakers from finding victory in Hanover, N.H.
Penn softball beat Dartmouth on Saturday, 17-10, in the final game of a three-game series that began with a doubleheader on Friday. The first game of the weekend ended in an 8-5 defeat for the Red and Blue, but they bounced back with a 6-3 win later in the day to put themselves in position to win the series.
The first four innings of the final game made a loss seem imminent for the Red and Blue (13-11, 5-4 Ivy). For the first three innings, the Quakers were able get runners on base but couldn't drive them home. Dartmouth (4-19, 1-5), on the other hand, was slowly building a big lead. The Big Green were able to score a run in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of the third, taking an early advantage.
Fortunately for Penn, senior second baseman Sam Pederson was able to turn a double play with the bases loaded in the second inning, preventing Dartmouth from taking an even bigger lead.
“It’s very easy to play your best when everyone around you is playing at the top of their game," Pederson said. "Not only were two people contributing, but everyone on the entire lineup was contributing, so it just comes naturally."
Somewhat sloppy pitching in the bottom of the fourth allowed Dartmouth to score four more runs, stretching the home side's lead to 6-1 over the Red and Blue.
However, the Big Green switched out starting pitcher Shelby Wilkison for Brooke Plonka in the beginning of the fifth, and Penn took advantage. Plonka struggled to record an out, and by the end of the frame, the Quakers had put up nine runs.
“[We were] having really smart at-bats, not just swinging at anything, and going into the batter’s box with a plan and a purpose,” Pederson said.
After freshman first baseman Julia Schneider started the rally with a two-run double, sophomore catcher Sarah Ketring hit a three-run home run, her first of the season, to tie the score.
The Quakers ended up scoring an additional four runs in the inning, taking a lead they would never relinquish. The Big Green were able to find some more success on offense, scoring four more runs before the end of the contest, but Penn locked up the win with five more runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh.
“Our team dynamic is super easy going and level-headed, so not much can freak us out when we’re playing," Pederson said. "We’ve had experience getting behind and coming back at the end. We know that we can come back if we stay calm and keep our strength."
“[We were] learning from our mistakes and what we didn’t do in the previous game and then making sure we do that in the following game," she added.
After the big win on Saturday, the Red and Blue will take on Villanova on Wednesday afternoon before traveling to Cornell for another three-game series next weekend.
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