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Junior Infielder Sammy Fenton hits the ball to outfield during the game against Yale at Penn Park on April 30, 2022. Credit: William Bartoc

For the first time this season, Penn softball found itself in the win column after a doubleheader sweep at Maryland Eastern Shore on March 22. Its streak would ultimately be short-lived after being swept in a three-game series at Dartmouth less than two days later.

The Quakers (2-22, 0-6 Ivy) looked to continue the offensive firepower that scored them a combined 20 runs against Maryland Eastern Shore, but fell short to the Big Green’s (8-11, 3-0) late-inning heroics that earned them two walk-off wins. Despite another weekend sweep, Penn showed its determination at the plate through key hits that kept Dartmouth on its toes across all three games.

Friday’s doubleheader was defined by the long ball, as key home runs from both sides changed the course of play. The Quakers came out swinging in the fourth inning to get on the board first in game one, thanks to a two-run shot to left field by junior utility player Katie Reagan. Her first career homer gave Penn a 3-0 lead, which sophomore right-handed pitcher Payton Bean defended by only allowing one Dartmouth run in the following three innings.

The Quaker offense struggled for the rest of the game, only managing one hit after Reagan's blast. Dartmouth, down by two runs, rallied back in the bottom of the seventh inning. The long ball sealed the deal with a walk-off grand slam — giving the Big Green a 6-3 victory.

Penn's offense continued where it left off in the first: struggling. The Quaker's were silent for the majority of the game, recording a meager three hits before momentum picked up in the top of the sixth. Key singles from junior outfielder Brianna Brown and senior catcher Sarah Schneider put runners on base with only one out. Junior infielder Sammy Fenton reached on an error, allowing Brown to score Penn’s only run of the game.

Dartmouth responded with a staggering five runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth, ending any chances of a Penn comeback. A rule-run victory was declared as the Quakers fell 9-1 — a result the Quakers have already seen this season, as last weekend’s doubleheader against Harvard ended the same way.

Penn looked to flip the script in Saturday’s finale, jumping out to a quick one-run lead off of a sacrifice fly by junior infielder Dana Anderson. Dartmouth responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the first inning, followed by two more in the third.

Contrary to the previous two games, the Quakers took advantage of the small ball and Big Green errors to retake the lead. Freshman right-handed pitcher Kelly Zybura — who earned her first collegiate win at Maryland Eastern Shore — took the mound looking to secure the win for the Quakers. Despite her best efforts, though, a base hit and two-RBI single diminished Penn's early lead and allowed the Big Green to sweep.

Even with the disappointing start to Ancient Eight play, Penn’s strengthening efforts on the field are evident from its trip to Hanover, N.H. this weekend. The Quakers notched at least five hits in every game and only recorded four fielding errors across the entire series. What’s clear, however, is that the team’s grit keeps them in the game until the very end — a spirit it’ll look to continue as the season progresses.

The Quakers remain on the road for a doubleheader at Lehigh on Wednesday afternoon, before returning to Penn Park for a three-game series against Princeton — currently first in Ivy standings.