Article by Jeremy Nelson
McPherson, KS – After starting the season 0-8, the Lady Tiger softball team made it four wins in a row with a sweep of crosstown rival McPherson College on Wednesday night.
The Tigers won game one 7-3 behind the arm of Kristen Hall. Hall threw a complete game, allowing three runs on eight hits. The defense behind Hall was good, making just one error in the game.
Building off of the two wins at Haskell over the weekend, the Tiger bats picked up where they left off in Lawrence. The Tigers scored their seven runs on sixteen hits, led by Ashly Westgarth, Sydney Nelson, and Desiree Yandell who were all 3 of 4 on the afternoon. Cheyenne Reynolds and Kristen Hall also had a multi-hit game, each going 2 for 5. The Tigers also had two extra-base hits, a double by Hall, and a triple by Dana Dean.
The Tigers opened the game scoring runs in each of the first three innings. They scored three in the top of the first, one in the second, and three more in the third. They were held scoreless the rest of the way, but their pitching and defense held strong the rest of the game, securing the win.
Kasi Kraus was on the hill to start the game, but lasted just one-third of an inning. She was credited with five unearned runs and replaced by Cristina Insua. Insua threw the next four and two-thirds innings. She was replaced byKristen Hall in the bottom of the sixth, but then came back in to pitch the bottom of the 7th inning. In all she pitched six innings allowing six runs, three of them earned, on five hits and earned the win. Hall pitched two-thirds of an inning allowing no runs on no hits.
Six Tigers had multiple hits in game two, led by Westgarth and Brooklynn Lemons who were an identical 3 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored. Dean continued to swing a hot bat, going 2 for 4 with a walk, two doubles, and two runs scored. Cheyenne Reynolds and Sydney Nelson were both 2 for 5 with Nelson scoring two of the Tiger runs.Desiree Yandell was playing the Designated Player position, and went 2 for 4 with a walk, three runs scored, and one RBI. Hall was 1 for 2 with a walk, and a huge double in the top of the seventh inning that scored two runs to give the Tigers a 12-8 lead.
The Tiger offense remained hot to start game two, scoring seven runs in the games' opening inning. Unfortunately, some shaky defense in the bottom of the first allowed the Bulldogs to get five of those runs back. The Tigers responded with a single run in the top of the second to lead 8-5. The Bulldogs trimmed the lead back to two with a single run in the bottom of the third. Both teams went scoreless in the fourth. The Tigers scored one run in the top of the fifth and then again in the top of the sixth to lead 10-6. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 10-8 with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Tigers got two much needed insurance runs in the seventh. Dana Dean started off the inning with a lead-off double, followed by a single from Sydney Nelson. Hall followed that up with a double to deep left center field, driving in both Dean and Nelson to put the Tigers up by four going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Bulldogs and Tigers both made things interesting tin the last half of the seventh. Mac led-off the inning with a double from the #9 hitter. Mac's lead-off hitter then reached base on a bunt putting runners at first and third with nobody out. A wild pitch by Insua allowed Mac to score a run and the runner at first advanced to third on a wild throw. The next batter hit a ball to the outfield that was dropped by Cheyenne Reynolds, allowing the Bulldogs to score their second run of the inning, and still no outs. The next Bulldog hitter singled through the hole between shortstop and third. A sacrifice bunt by the next Bulldog hitter moved the tying run to second with just one out. The next Mac batter hit a long drive to deep right that was caught by Chandler Gerk but allowed the Bulldogs to score, and the tying run move to third. With a chance to tie or win the game, Cristina Insua got the Bulldogs' Whitney Miller to pop out toDana Dean at shortstop to end the game.
A relieved Coach Haga had this to say after the games, "The girls played with such heart and focus. They showed up ready to play today and it showed. Barring leaving several runners stranded, they still found a way to win that first game. They continued with the same intensity in the second game, believed in each other and were able to hold onto the lead to win the second. I just couldn't be more proud of each and every one of them."
Wednesday's wins avenge a pair of earlier losses to the Bulldogs a little over a week ago. It is also the first time since St. Patrick's Day 2007, that they have defeated their crosstown rival. The wins extend the Tigers' winning streak to four games and put them at 4-8 on the season. They will get a few days off before a rematch with Mid-America Christian University at home on Saturday. The double header between the Tigers and Evangels is scheduled for 2:00 and 4:00 pm.