Softball jumps to 3-1 Ivy start on strength of Rumley no-no

by Daniel Lee | 4/2/15 6:01pm

For the first time this season, the women’s softball team squared off against Ivy League opponents last weekend, playing doubleheaders against the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

On top of winning three of the four games, the highlight of the weekend was a remarkable pitching performance by Kristen Rumley ’15, who on Saturday became the fifth Dartmouth softball pitcher to throw a no-hitter in program history in the first game against Columbia.

Rumley started the weekend pitching against Penn, allowing two runs and striking out four players through five and one-third innings and was relieved by Morgan McCalmon ’16, who came in, closed the game 3-2 and earned the first save of the season. McCalmon started the second game of the doubleheader and was replaced by Rumley, who entered in the sixth inning with the score tied 2-2.

After the first batter of the sixth inning reached first base on an error, the Quakers added two runs on the board, stretching their lead to 4-2 after a pair of singles, a walk and three stolen bases. Katie McEachern ’16 hit a solo home run at the top of the seventh, but the Big Green fell short of tying the game and Rumley was charged with the loss.

The games against Columbia on the following day told a much different story than the match-ups against Penn. With Rumley back on the mound, she struck out the side in the second inning and scattered six more strikeouts throughout the game.

She dominated the Lions as she picked up nine strikeouts, induced seven ground outs and allowed no hits. She walked the Lion’s leadoff batter, Madison Gott, in the third, which turned out to be the only mistake that kept her from perfection.

After a brief team celebration for the no-no, Rumley went right back to work and started the second game of the doubleheader, pitching a two-hit shutout while striking out five, bringing her weekend workload to a staggering 18 and one-third innings through three starts and one relief appearance.

Despite joining an exclusive club of Big Green softball players, Rumley stated that the most important part of the game was the team’s win.

“It’s just about going out and getting the win,” Rumley said. “If the no-hitter comes then it’s great, but the most important thing for us is getting the win.”

As the no-hitter was unfolding, Rumley recalled that it first crossed her mind in the fourth inning as she was talking with teammates in the dugout. As one can imagine, her teammates were on their toes in the final outs of the game.

“It’s so fun to watch her pitch and see the success and legacy that she’s built throughout the four years of her Dartmouth career,” McCalmon said. “It’s been an honor to be her teammate, and because I’m also a pitcher, she’s been a role model and has helped my development as a player.”

As Rumley looked back at her accomplishment, she attributed much of her success to her teammates.

“The defense was phenomenal behind me and the offense had scored so many runs which gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “When the offense is doing such a great job and knowing that the defense is doing as well as they were, it makes the pitcher’s job so much easier and there’s nothing more you can really ask for.”

The offense was lively early in all four games, as the team got on the board by the second inning in each. McEachern went on an offensive tear, slotting eight hits on 11 at-bats, hitting two home runs and collecting four RBIs during the weekend. Because of her ability to get on base, her presence in the leadoff spot has been the biggest reason why the team’s offense has been difficult to contain. She is currently on a 14-game on-base streak and a 13-game hitting streak, and the team is 6-3 when she starts off the batting order.

“We feel great and we’re just touching up some minor things and now that everyone sees how great of a hitting team we are, it’s going to launch us to be even better,” McEachern said. “We’re going to be more relaxed and not feel that the pressure is on for each individual to get a hit since everyone can get a hit.”

The team is midway through their season, and 16 out of the 17 remaining games of the regular season are against Ivy League schools with less than one month left until Ivy Championships.

The Big Green will host their first home games of the season today against Princeton University, followed by Cornell University tomorrow.