For Penn softball, not much has changed in the last two seasons. They have had a strong offense, made several runs at the Ivy Title and had an ace starter named Alexis.
But this year, the difference is in the last name.
Just a year after graduating perhaps the most illustrious pitcher in program history in Alexis Borden, the Quakers have found a new star in the circle in junior Alexis Sargent.
After waiting in the ranks for two years behind Borden, Sargent emerged as Penn's next top starter early in the season, wasting little time in establishing herself as a bona fide ace.
Less than a day after their men’s hoops counterparts won a national championship on an improbable buzzer-beating three pointer, Villanova softball traveled to University City to take on its counterparts from Penn.
Unlike the Wildcats’ victory over North Carolina, however, the outcome of this cross-town matchup was never in doubt, with Villanova cruising to a 10-0 decision.
Well, hopefully they got that out of their system.
In their last action before kicking off Ivy League play on Friday against Yale, Penn softball fell in both games of a doubleheader versus Lehigh at Penn Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday night was a lesson in getting halfway there for the Quakers.
Despite recording hits in nearly every one of the 14 innings played against La Salle at home on Wednesday night’s doubleheader, Penn (9-7) couldn’t manage to bring most of those eager runners on base home.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
After a rousing comeback to win the first game 8-4, Penn softball dropped the second game of their doubleheader by the score of 13-0 to Army on Friday night at Penn Park.
In poker and in softball, having an ace dramatically increases the likelihood of victory. In the initial stretches of the season, however, it is clear that Penn softball will have to bet with different odds.
Imagine it’s the bottom of the sixth inning in the rubber match of the Ivy League Championship series, your team is up 3-2 and just three outs separate you from an Ancient Eight crown, an NCAA berth and a chance at glory.
Then, the opposing team drills in five runs, gains control of the lead in punishing fashion and all of that glory slips away.
Penn softball doesn’t have to imagine.