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Season Preview: Bulldogs Eager To Kick Off Season

Season Preview: Bulldogs Eager To Kick Off Season

Yale Travels To Arizona For Opening Tournament

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It's been a very productive preseason for a Yale softball team that features a deep and talented roster. Head Coach Jen Goodwin has pushed her experienced squad and is pleased with what she has seen.

"Our practices have been going well," she said. "We have been challenging the team more than ever in our preparation for the season, and they have responded well. I expect the results to show on the field."

The Bulldogs get their first opportunity to confirm that when they head to the Grand Canyon University Purple Classic in Arizona this weekend. Yale plays five games in the three-day tournament, starting Friday against Boise State at 11 a.m. EST. There are also two games with Michigan State and one each with North Dakota and Grand Canyon.

Pitching should again be a strength for the Bulldogs, who return a majority of the staff that posted the second best earned run average in the Ivy League last spring. Captain Terra Jerpbak is the team leader. Her 214 career strikeouts are the seventh most in school history. Last spring, she finished second in the league with 84 strikeouts and was fourth in ERA (3.22) and innings pitched (117.1). In her outstanding career she has thrown 336.2 innings.

Junior Mary Baumann and sophomore Miranda Papes also return. Baumann is a talented pitcher who has been limited by injuries in her first two seasons. Papes made a strong first impression last year, earning honorable mention All-Ivy recognition after leading the staff with a 2.77 ERA. One of her season highlights came when she tossed a three-hit shutout vs. Harvard.

First year Nic Conway could make an impact as well. She is Catalina Foothills High School's all-time leader in strikeouts (924), ERA (2.23) and wins (58). As a senior, she set a single season school record with 309 strikeouts.

The Bulldogs have depth in the infield as well. Sophomore Sydney Grobman earned second team All-Ivy honors at first base last spring. She started 37 games and led the team in hitting (.333) and RBI (14) and shared the team lead with three home runs. Her statistics were even better in Ivy games when she batted .357 and knocked in 12 runs. She was the recipient of the team most valuable player award.

Junior Annie Tarte has been very steady at second base in her first two years. Last spring, she was one of only two players to start all 40 games and led the team with 42 hits and was second with a .296 batting average. She was the recipient of the team's Barbara Chou Leadership Award. Sophomore Kortney Ponce started 22 of the 25 games she appeared in as a rookie and was a big contributor at shortstop. Junior Lindsay Kuss is an experienced middle infielder as well. She has appeared in 63 games in her first two years.

At third base, Yale must replace four-year starter Allison Skinner '19. Sophomore Phylicia Wilkov is one of the candidates. She was the recipient of the team's Most Improved Player Award a year ago after batting .400 in limited at bats. Her first career home run came in the season finale at Dartmouth. First year Katie Tews also has strong credentials. She is Sun Prairie High School's all-time leader in career batting average (.521), hits (197), doubles (39) and triples (16). In addition, she was a two-time first team all-state infielder.

Sophomore Olivia Lee, who started 19 games last year, including 11 in Ivy play, returns behind the plate. She gained valuable international experience in the summer of 2018 with Great Britain's Under-19 team in the XV European Championships in Staranzano, Italy and the Under-22 team for that age group's European Championships in Trnava, Slovakia. Grobman also should see time at catcher.

Yale returns two All-Ivy outfielders in seniors Shelby Kennedy and Carlin Hagmaier. Kennedy is a two-time All-Ivy selection. Last year she led the league with 24 stolen bases, tied for the league lead with 20 walks and was 10th in on base percentage at .428. She also led the team with 17 runs scored and was one of only two players to start all 40 games. Hagmaier started 17 Ivy games and batted .347, which was second on the team. Seven of her team leading eight doubles came in league play.

There are also other experienced outfielders. Sophomore Olivia Vinyard was making a big contribution before an injury cut short her rookie season. She had hits in five of her first six games. The highlight of Giovy Webb's season came when she belted her first career home run at Columbia. Webb, a junior, appeared in 32 games overall and started 23. She was recently named to the Peruvian National Team.

A pair of first years are also candidates for playing time in the outfield. Maya Seifert was an all-state selection as a senior at Valparaiso High School where she batted .459 with a .571 on base percentage, .744 slugging percentage and 1.292 OPS. Olivia Sardoff was a two-time first team all-conference selection at Colts Neck High School and led the team in average (.422), hits (27), home runs (4), RBI (24) and slugging (.675).

Senior Cristina Teems, a two-time recipient of the team's Andy Van Etten Coaches Award, will serve as a designated player. She brings a potent bat to the lineup.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity