by Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor
Due to field conditions, Whitworth softball had to play home games on the road this weekend, but the team didn’t let the extra travel faze them as they dominated the Lewis & Clark Pioneers in Portland.
The Bucs swept the Pioneers, winning Sunday’s games 1-0 and 11-3, and Monday’s 11-9 and 6-4. The wins moved Whitworth to 7-1 in the Northwest Conference, and maintained their lead in the conference standings. Lewis & Clark dropped to 1-9 in conference play.
The comeback came in the first game of today’s doubleheader. Lewis & Clark poured on six runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 9-4 lead, but Whitworth’s offense responded immediately with five runs to tie it up in the top of the fifth inning.
Kelsey Downey, ‘18, led the way, blasting a grand slam to tie the game. She followed up her grand slam with the go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh inning to seal the victory for the Bucs.
“I saw a middle-inside pitch, which is one of my favorites,” Downey said. “I just wanted to hit it as hard as I could.”
Whitworth added one more run on a Shannon Wessel, ‘17, single in the same inning to put away an 11-9 comeback win.
The second game of today’s doubleheader sealed the sweep for the Bucs. Michelle Silva, ‘18, and Wessel contributed two RBIs apiece and sophomore pitcher Ashley Trueblood tossed four and two-thirds strong innings to finish the sweep.
In the first game of the weekend, the Bucs held the Pioneers scoreless for all eight innings behind outstanding pitching from senior Madi Perez. Perez allowed just five runners to reach base and struck out six. She also scored the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning before closing out the game in the eighth.
“When the pitchers are throwing well our team gets pretty excited,” Downey said. “It makes us want to go all-out on defense, because we want to back up all of the hard work they are doing in the circle.”
In Sunday’s second game the Whitworth offense went all-out as well, scoring seven runs in the first three innings to take an early 7-2 lead over the Pioneers. Myranda Ramirez, ‘17, played a key role in the effort. She drove in three runs with a double in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the third.
Seven runs would be more than enough for Trueblood, though she did appreciate the extra support from the offense. The sophomore pitcher allowed three runs, only one earned, on eight hits without striking out a batter.
“The run support my team continues to put up allows me as a pitcher to throw a lot looser with a lot less pressure,” Trueblood said.
Next up, the Bucs hit the road once again over spring break. They take on Pacific, Saturday and Sunday at noon and 2 p.m.