Outfield offense, stellar comeback lead to softball sweep

by Andrew Goodwin|Sports Editor

Whitworth’s offense and pitching staff both came to play as they completed a road sweep of Whittier on Friday afternoon.

The win improved the Bucs’ record to 8-2 on the season and 4-0 on this weekend’s California road trip. The Pirates led most of the way in a 5-2 victory in the first game, and used a six run fifth inning to come back and win the second.

In the first game the Pirate outfield did most of the offensive damage. Center fielder Shannon Wessel, ‘17, finished the game with three hits and a run, and Kinsey McNaught, ‘20, reached base on a pair of infield singles, scoring once. Junior left fielder Kelsey Downey completed the outfield’s strong performance with a hit and a run.

“It feels great,” Wessel said. “We’re seeing the ball well early, and it’s exciting.”

The three outfielders combined for more runs than Madi Perez, ‘17, allowed from the circle. Perez gave up just two runs in seven strong innings. She struck out two batters and allowed four Poet hits.

Whitworth fell behind early in the day’s second matchup. Megan Truesdale, ‘20, briefly struggled, conceding two runs in the bottom of the first inning as Whittier promptly took the lead. Truesdale bounced back to throw a strong second inning before being replaced by Sarah Ballinger, ‘20, who gave up two more runs in the bottom of the fourth as Whittier expanded their lead.

Fortunately for the Bucs, while the pitchers struggled early, the offense picked up the slack in the top of the fifth inning. Morgan Portlock, ‘19, singled into left field and the floodgates opened as the Bucs scored six runs to take a two run lead.

“The offense only takes one hit to get going,” Wessel said. “ It’s contagious.”

Whitworth scored the go-ahead run in a similar fashion to their second win on Thursday. Michelle Silva, ‘18, laid down a bunt for a base hit as Logan Miller, ’20, sprinted home to give Whitworth a lead they would not relinquish.

Sophomore pitcher Ashley Trueblood shut the door on any potential for a Poet comeback. Trueblood allowed just five baserunners over the final three and two thirds innings to keep Whittier off the scoreboard and secure a Whitworth sweep.

“[Trueblood] came in ready to go right away,” Wessel said. “It was huge. She was focused and threw the ball well.

Next up: Whitworth receives a short break before their next contest. Their doubleheader against Chapman will begin on Sunday at noon with the second matchup starting around 2:30 p.m.