Softball Championship Series Preview
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Familiar foes meet once again in the 2011 Ivy League Softball Championship Series as North Division champion Harvard welcomes South Division champion Cornell to Soldiers Field in Cambridge, Mass., for a best-of-three title showdown.
Cornell and Harvard clash for the League's automatic bid in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship for the second-straight year. Last year, Cornell took two of three from Harvard in Ithaca, N.Y., to win its second-straight Ivy title. This year, Harvard is looking to avenge that series defeat, this time in friendly confines of Soldiers Field where the Crimson has won nine-straight entering the weekend.
Harvard (34-14, 18-2 Ivy) is making its fourth appearance in the championship series (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011) and is serving as the series' host for the first time since the inaugural championship series in 2007 when the Ivy League went to divisional play in softball.
Making its third-consecutive and third overall championship series appearance, Cornell (27-20-1, 12-7 Ivy) is looking to keep the Ivy trophy in Ithaca. This time the Big Red will have to do it as the visiting team after enjoying home field advantage for the 2009 and 2010 Championship Series.
Cornell and Harvard last met this season in a pair of cross-divisional games on April 9, with each team coming away with a win. The Big Red won the opener, 8-1, behind seven strong innings from ace Elizabeth Dalrymple. The senior hurler fanned 10 while scattering a pair of hits and three walks, giving up just one run to the Crimson.
Dalrymple's offense did the rest, starting with a five-run third inning. A leadoff walk was sent home by a Marissa Amiraian triple and Jenny Edwards plated Amiraian with a single to right. Three batters later Erin Belles blasted a three-run home run over the left field fence.
Harvard scored once in the fourth, making it a 5-1 ballgame, but the Big Red added a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to seal the victory.
Dalrymple could not work the same magic in the nightcap, however, as Harvard won the offensive battle, 7-5.
Cornell led 4-2 through five complete, but the Crimson exploded for five runs in the home half of the sixth to take a 6-4 lead. The two-out rally began with a Allison Scott walk. Shelbi Olson followed with a two-run homer to left, knotting the game 4-4. Two more singled followed and then a three-run shot by Ellen Macadam, put Harvard in the lead, 7-4.
The Big Red managed to get one run back in the top of the seventh, but Harvard's Laura Ricciardone drew a fielder's choice out to end the game.