After some struggling to gain consistent ground in the first few weeks of the season, Penn softball finally hit its stride in the series against Harvard this weekend.
The Quakers went head-to-head with the Crimson in a three-game series, coming out on top with two wins and one loss.
While the Red and Blue (11-9, 3-3 Ivy) fell short with an 8-7 loss in the first game of the series on Saturday, senior first baseman Hannah Gibbons feels that the game could have gone either way.
“I think if you would’ve given us an extra inning, we would’ve come back and beat Harvard. Just small things here and there made the difference … there wasn’t anything crazy,” Gibbons said.
On Sunday, both the sun and the Quakers came out to play. The Red and Blue showed up for the doubleheader to close out the series with a renewed spark, especially in their bats.
The Penn offense came alive immediately in the first inning of the game. The momentum continued as the group consistently put multiple runs on the board each inning, and ultimately shut down the Crimson (7-12, 1-2) in just five innings with a final score of 12-2.
“I think prior to [this series], in earlier games, that was our biggest problem: We’d get runners on base and couldn’t get them in. But that wasn’t the issue this weekend,” Gibbons said.
The Quakers kept their foot on the gas throughout the last game of the series, putting up a total of 11 hits and getting runners into scoring position every inning. While Harvard did put some pressure on Penn toward the end of the game — with the tying and winning runs in scoring position in the seventh — the Red and Blue managed to close out the game and finish with a 3-2 win.
“Things were falling in our favor today. We still had the same amount of intensity that we had yesterday. There was nothing wrong with the intensity yesterday, but today things were just working for us and Harvard didn’t show up, so we capitalized for sure,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons credits a big part of the Quakers' success this weekend to the way they approached the series.
“We’re playing with high intensity, but we’re still having fun. We’re not tight and tense, we’re intense but enjoying the weather, enjoying each other, and enjoying the game. And that’s making a big difference for us,” she said.
Since the small things seemed to have made all the difference in Penn’s success against Harvard, Gibbons thinks that it will be crucial to tweak these types of mistakes before heading up to Hanover, N.H. next weekend.
Looking ahead, the Quakers intend to carry this energy all the way up to Hanover for their next Ivy League matchup against Dartmouth.
“Dartmouth going away is going to be interesting," Gibbons said. “Traveling eight hours up to Dartmouth is going to be rough, so [we have to] make sure we have the same amount of energy when we’re not on our field and playing in 30-degree weather."
Though Penn might be playing in cooler weather next weekend, the Quakers have every intention of keeping their bats red hot.