Softball beats Penn to head to NCAAs
With rain coming down in the bottom of the fifth in game three of the Ivy League Championship Series, Kara Curosh ’14 blasted a two-run, line-drive home run over the left-center field wall. Rounding the bases, she ran straight into the arms of her teammates at home plate, putting Dartmouth back in the game against the University of Pennsylvania. The Big Green (31-17, 18-2 Ivy) would go on to defeat the Quakers (19-22-1, 13-6-1 Ivy) 7-3 in the game and 2-1 in the series to claim the program’s first ever Ivy League Championship.

“I loved it,” Curosh said. “I was just talking to my parents and I said that is the dream come true, to be able to do that in such a high intensity game.” Curosh’s homer energized Dartmouth, who trailed Penn 3-0 at that point. “That was a huge game-changer for us,” Kristen Rumley ’15 said. “It definitely got the momentum going for us.” Penn did not score another run, while Dartmouth unleashed a five-run barrage in the sixth inning that sealed Penn’s fate. Dartmouth emerged victorious from game one on Saturday thanks to its pitching aces. Rumley dominated the game, allowing one run on one hit in five innings for her 16th win this season. Morgan McCalmon ’16 continued her streak with two innings of relief of Rumley. She prevented Penn from making a comeback, picking up her second save of the season. Penn scored first — in the second inning on a double to center field from freshman Alexis Sargent. Dartmouth responded in the third with a two-run homer by Katie McEachern ’16. Dartmouth built on its lead in the sixth, adding three runs on four hits. Rumley plated Brianna Lohmann ’16 before two more Big Green runners scored on a double by Maddie Damore ’17 and a sacrifice foul out by Curosh to push the score to 5-1. Rain began to fall in game two. The Quakers came out firing, scoring three runs in the first inning. Dartmouth fought back in the top of the second with a two-run homer over the left-center wall by Karen Chaw ’17. The Big Green tied the game in the third when McEachern’s single to right scored Megan Averitt ’15. Penn retook the lead with a double from freshman Leah Allen and built on the lead in the fourth with a double from junior Sydney Turchin. Trailing 5-3, Dartmouth quickly went three up, three down in the fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, Chaw was inches away from knocking another ball out of the park, but Penn’s Kanani Datan reached over the fence for the catch. Later in the inning, with Alyssa Loyless ’17 on third, Averitt grounded out to end the game. McCalmon received her fifth defeat of the year, giving up five runs over 3.2 innings. Rumley, in relief, allowed just one hit for the remainder of the game. Penn junior Alexis Borden pitched the entirety of both of Saturday’s games and retired 10 straight Dartmouth hitters during the second game. Saturday’s split forced a decisive game three. Playing conditions were worse on Sunday as rain and high winds challenged both teams at different points throughout the game. “You just got to play with everything around you,” Rumley said. “I knew that if I was going to give up a hit, the defense was going to field it. Honestly, the rain didn’t matter to me.” While Rumley said it was difficult at times to keep control of the ball, she allowed just three runs and five hits, striking out eight. Borden matched Rumley pitch for pitch for much of the game. “Hats off to her,” head coach Rachel Hanson said. “She’s a very good pitcher and really cranks it up for the postseason. She did well.” Penn struck first with a run in the third inning and two more in the fourth to again build a 3-0 advantage. In the fifth inning, Curosh drove the ball over the wall to score Averitt and herself and bring Dartmouth within one with her second home run of the season. “Any other person on this team could have done the same thing,” Curosh said. “It was me this time, but it was other people other times. That’s the great thing about this team.” Then the wheels fell off for Penn and Borden in the sixth, when the Big Green offense exploded for five runs on three hits, flipping the score line. “When you have a dominant pitcher like that, you’re going to ride her as long as you can,” Hanson said. “They did the right thing, and we were able to hit.” Rumley gave Dartmouth a 4-3 lead with a two-run double to left center. Dartmouth scored another three runs off a wild pitch and a two-RBI single to build a 7-3 lead. With just three outs to an Ivy League title, Rumley quickly worked through the Penn hitters and recorded the final out, setting off the celebration on the mound as her teammates cleared the dugout and piled on top of her. “I’m so proud of this team, and I’m so proud of the way we played this series,” Curosh said. “Even after losing the second game on Saturday and falling behind today, we worked hard every single pitch, every single at-bat. We didn’t stop and we got an Ivy title because of it.” Dartmouth will learn its opponent in the NCAA Division I Softball Championship on May 11 at 10 p.m. during the tournament selection show. Regionals for the NCAA Championship tournament will occur May 16-18. “They earned this opportunity by busting their butts all year, and it paid off,” Hanson said. “I’m so proud of them, so proud where they are now and of what they’re going to continue to do.”
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