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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Dartmouth softball struggles to find momentum

Softball starts their season 4-9 following two tournaments and games against Harvard and Boston College.


Courtesy of the Dartmouth Athletics Department

Following a seventh place finish in the Ivy League last season, the Big Green softball team has struggled to gain traction this year. The team enters the spring term with a 4-9 record, following two tournaments, as well as games against Harvard University and Boston College.  

The Big Green faces several challenges this season, including fewer players and a tough schedule at the start of the season. The team is down to a roster of 23 players from 27 in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons. Despite the early losses, Alaana Panu ’25 said she is hopeful about the season. 

“We are a smaller roster this year, but we pack a lot of punch with the few people that we have,” she said.

On Feb. 23, the team flew to Athens, Georgia to compete in the Georgia Classic, where they faced defeat at the hands of the University of Georgia, Radford University and Virginia Tech.

The Big Green turned the tables when they traveled to Louisville, Kentucky on March 13 and beat Butler University with a final score of 4-3.

Rookie Jensin Hall ’27 took the circle to face the Butler Bulldogs and struck out 10 batters in five innings while giving up two runs. Pitcher Rachel McCarroll ’25 finished the game with two scoreless innings, giving Hall her first collegiate win and McCarroll her first save of the season. 

Later that same day, the Big Green took on the Knights of Bellarmine, who they defeated 2-0. McCarroll pitched a one-hit six inning shutout. Dartmouth scored on a passed ball and sacrifice fly to secure their second win of the season.

After a day’s rest, Hall took the circle again, this time to face the University of South Dakota at the Louisville Tournament opener. Hall pitched seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts.

Cwen Wilson ’27 and Allison Ohde ’26 had two RBIs for the day, while Leila Hennessy ’25 and Justice Malone ’27 each had one. The final score was 6-0.

On a three-game winning streak, the team hoped to continue their run in a matchup against the South Dakota Coyotes on March 16. The game was tied going into the bottom of the seventh inning with Hall in the circle. In the end, South Dakota walked it off and ended the Big Green’s winning streak.

The Big Green also struggled against the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign later that day. Illinois was up 6-0 by the second inning and maintained their lead for the rest of the game, with a margin of 13-5 by the end of the sixth. The game ended early due to the college softball’s eight-run mercy rule, with Illinois clinching the win.

To end the Louisville Tournament, the team lost to the University of Michigan Wolverines 2-4 on March 17. Mary Cahalan ’24 had the only Big Green RBI.

Despite a tough start early on, Hall is optimistic about the rest of the season.

“[The teams we have played are] harder teams,” Hall said. “We [are] prepared better for the Ivies when we go and play Louisville and Illinois and Michigan. It’s a great opportunity to get better and test what we have been working on.”

After winning one game out of four in the Louisville Tournament, the Big Green looked toward their first Ivy League matchup: a face off with Harvard the next weekend.

The team spent a few days strategizing and bonding — including a scavenger hunt in Louisville on St. Patrick’s Day — before traveling to Cambridge, Hall said. 

On March 22, the Big Green faced the Harvard Crimson at Soldiers Field. Dartmouth scored first, but Harvard led 5-1 by the end of the first inning, ultimately winning the game 9-6. Despite the loss, the Dartmouth first-years put up an impressive performance.

Hall pitched the sixth inning of the game to relieve McCarroll and struckout two of the three batters she saw. She also racked in her first collegiate hit as the designated player.

“I’m just trying to focus more on pitching, and then if good things happen hitting, it’s exciting,” Hall said.

Olivia Schramm ’27 had four RBIs, while Malone went three-for-four at the plate and hit her first collegiate home run.

“We were really prepared,” Malone said. “We just went out there and executed. We keep doing well, we keep grinding and we’re just going to keep executing as much as we can.”

After she finished the first game of the double header, Hall went into the circle to start the second game, striking out 13 Crimson batters. While pitching a one-hit shutout, Hall also received her second collegiate hit. Dartmouth won 3-0 with RBIs from Ashley Frantz ’26 and Panu.

“The whole team was really ready to go,” Panu said. “We have a lot of good things to take away from this game and learning from the things that we still need to work on.”

Due to the weather in Cambridge, the third game of the series was postponed to April 9.

Both Hall and Malone received Ivy League Weekly Awards on March 25 after their performance in their first conference games as rookies. Malone was named the Co-Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, and Hall was named the Pitcher of the Week. Malone was also one of the Richards Group Athletes of the Week.

“I’m just trying to get settled with everybody else,” Malone said. “We’re all just trying to work through some kinks and do what we can to get prepared for all our Ivy play.”

Following their series against Harvard, the team faced Boston College for their home opener on March 26 at Dartmouth Softball Park. McCarroll and Hall gave up a total of five runs, leading to a 5-2 loss for Dartmouth. 

Dartmouth’s two runs came from Panu, who doubled in the first inning and hit a solo home run in the seventh — her first home run of the season.

“The first one is always the toughest,” Panu said. “After that, I’ve done it once, I can do it again.”

The Big Green is back at Dartmouth Softball Park this weekend to face Yale University in a three-game series. The double header on Saturday and game on Sunday will be streamed on ESPN+.