The Columbia softball team closed out its season with a disappointing four-game series loss against Southern Division rival Penn. The Lions won only one of the four contests, dropping them to 4-16 in the Ivy League and 16-34 overall.
The first doubleheader took place at the Baker Athletics Complex and ended in a split for the Light Blue. Penn (15-18, 10-10 Ivy) took the first matchup 4-3 before Columbia won the second game 6-5 in extra innings.
Five fielding errors may have cost the Lions the first game of the day. The Light Blue gave up a pair of unearned runs on two errors by Chantee Dempsey, two by Keli Leong, and one by Karen Tulig.
Pitcher Maggie Johnson was tagged with the loss in her complete-game effort, despite giving up only two earned runs (four runs overall). Johnson gave up eight hits and no walks on the day. She also tallied five strikeouts.
Though Columbia’s sloppy defense proved extremely detrimental, the Lions benefited from similar Quaker defensive struggles. Of the three runs the Lions scored, only one was earned.
Jackie Ecker led the Light Blue offense, knocking in two runs on 1-for-2 hitting. Despite their struggles on the field, Leong and Dempsey were able to produce at the plate, combining to score two runs on 3-for-6 hitting.
First baseman Kelsey Wolfe led the Quakers with two hits and an RBI.
Dempsey was able to redeem herself in game two of the doubleheader, hitting the walk-off single that gave the Lions their first win against Penn since the 2006 season.
The game was close throughout, with four lead changes. The Quakers struck first, putting a run on the board in the first thanks to an RBI single by Jamie Boccanfuso, but the Light Blue struck back immediately with a two-run homer by Johnson in the bottom of the inning.
After several lead changes, Columbia entered the top of the seventh with a 5-3 lead. Penn managed to tie the score on a two-run single by Boccanfuso, setting the stage for Dempsey’s heroics.
With two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth, Dempsey celebrated Senior Day by knocking in the winning run on a single to left field.
The second pair of games took place at Warren Field in Philadelphia and resulted in a sweep for the home team. Penn took the first game 8-1 before winning the second decision 8-6.
The Light Blue was again plagued by errors in the opener. A costly miscue by Dempsey in the bottom of the sixth resulted in four unearned runs for the Quakers.
The only run for Columbia came off an RBI single by Johnson.
Erica Clauss got the start for the Lions, but was relieved by Jessica Rakonza after giving up four runs on seven hits in three and one-third innings of work. Rakonza went two and two-thirds innings in relief, giving up four runs (none earned) on three hits.
Though the second game of the day was closer, the Lions still couldn’t salvage a doubleheader split. An uncharacteristically poor performance by Johnson on the mound cost the Light Blue the game. Johnson gave up eight runs on 11 hits and two walks in only four and two-thirds innings.
Johnson partially redeemed herself in the batter’s box, going 2-for-4 with a run. Dempsey and Kayla Lechler pitched in with impressive offensive performances, each adding two hits. Dempsey also had and RBI and a run scored while Lechler managed to cross the plate twice.
In the final weekend of Ivy play, Penn’s victories lifted it to second in the Southern Division, while the Lions finished in the Ancient Eight cellar.