After 727 Days, Softball Returns with 3-2 Record at Hatter Classic


After 727 days away from spring competition, Harvard Softball (3-2) has returned in full force, competing in five games over three days from Feb. 25 to Feb. 27 at the Hatter Classic in DeLand, Florida. Currently ranked third in the Ivy Preseason Poll behind rivals Columbia and Penn, the Crimson haven’t played a spring game since their March 1st, 2020 win over North Carolina Central.

The weekend offered an opportunity for Harvard to not only flex the might of its tried and true veteran players, but also showcase the team’s new talent. Nine current roster members helped raise the Ivy League Championship Trophy in 2019, and senior infielder tri-captain Morgan Melito and senior outfielder tri-captain Alyssa Saldana remain from the 2018 back-to-back Ivy Championship Team.

“We really do appreciate every moment that we can get out there,” Melito said. “It’s wonderful to be back.”

Double headers on both Friday and Saturday set up the Hatter Classic to be action packed. Friday offered a pair of Harvard wins, over both the University of Rhode Island (3-7) and Stetson University (9-4). In the opening game of the tournament, the Crimson made a furious comeback with six runs in the top of the seventh to take the win over Rhode Island, 11-5.


After closing out the final inning of the Rhode Island game, first-year pitcher Katie Arrambide extended her success in the second game of the tournament, giving up just two hits in a five-inning, 9-1 win over Stetson.

“We have an older, upperclassman-dominant, experienced defense,” said Arrambide, crediting her success to the depth of the current roster. “It was great to feel supported by my team on my first outing.”

The tournament continued on Saturday, where the Crimson fell to both Marist College (5-5) and Stetson. In a 10-1 five-inning loss to Marist, Harvard struggled to recover from the Red Foxes’ early lead, who sealed the deal by plating six runs in the fourth. Junior center fielder/utility Megan Welsh scored the sole run for the Crimson in the fourth, after an RBI double by Melito.

The evening matchup against Stetson proved to be a grueling back-and-forth for the two teams, with the Hatters pulling ahead from a tie game in the third after an early Crimson lead. Even though home runs from senior center fielder/utility Teagan Shaw and Melito reclaimed the advantage in the top of the fifth inning, Harvard was unable to hold off Stetson’s three-run pinch hit walk-off home run in the seventh by Evette Morgan.

“It was a very hard fought battle on both sides,” Melito said. “Hats off to them. They played a great game, we played a great game. It came down to just a couple of hits, and sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles.”

“We put up a really good fight against them in the first game, and that would prompt them to want to come for us more in the second game, which they did,” Arrambide agreed.

In a triumphant end to the week's competition, the Crimson redeemed itself against Marist with a 4-1 win. Sophomore infielder Kendall Jean showed strong offensive play with three RBI and a run. Junior pitcher Lindsay G. Poulos returned to the mound after coming back from injury, posing a promising return for one of Harvard’s key players.

“One of our biggest things was getting everyone an opportunity to perform, and we had a lot of players come in and execute their jobs, whether that be at bat, come in to pitch, or to run,” Melito said.

As the Crimson looks forward to the rest of its season, it continues to reap the benefits of a talented coaching staff. This is Head Coach Jenny Allard’s 27th season with the Crimson. She was recently announced as being inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame.

“It’s absolutely no surprise,” Melito said. “She's been in the program since the early days, since the beginning.”

Melito’s action-packed weekend earned her an accolade of her own, being recognized as the Ivy League’s Player of the Week, her first and the program’s first since 2018. Over the course of the weekend, she had eight hits, two home runs, and eight RBI for a total of 15 total bases, and was instrumental in Harvard’s pair of victories.

As the Crimson looks to continue its season this weekend, Arrambide affirmed the team’s commitment to focus on building cohesiveness, doing their jobs, and being ready to compete at all times.

“Keep the energy high, both in the beginning of the game, at the end of the game, beginning of the weekend or end of the weekend and continue to be relentless offensive,” she commented.

Harvard will be back on the road this weekend, traveling to Birmingham, Ala. for the Green and Gold Classic, where the team will compete against both Longwood University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

–Staff writer Elizabeth Pachus can be reached at