by Will Carsh
The Whitworth Softball team lost two of three games in the Northwest Conference tournament last weekend, playing a total of three games against Linfield, Pacific, and George Fox. The losses proved to be the end point for the Bucs’ tournament run despite winning the first NWC title for the program. Practices will continue, as an opportunity for regionals is still a possibility to be decided on May 4.
First-place Whitworth was upset in the first game by the fourth-seated Linfield Wildcats.
In the top of the second inning, the Wildcats landed two runs against the Pirates. In the bottom of the third, Whitworth managed to earn a run through freshman outfielder Chelsey Hayes bringing junior outfielder Alyssa Hall in with a hit to left field. The Wildcats added another run to the board in the fourth inning, but the Bucs came back with another run of their own in the bottom of the sixth.
With the score at 3-1 during the seventh inning, the Bucs impressively managed to shut down Linfield’s offense, putting themselves in position to take the lead at the end of the game. After two outs, however, the suspense continued to grow as the crowd fell silent. Then, the crowd and dugout erupted into chaos when junior catcher Megan John struck out to end the game. With Whitworth losing, they moved on to play Pacific later that day.
The Bucs fared better in the second game with a final score of 2-1. Both teams scored in the first inning, with sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel landing a hit that brought Hayes home. The game kept this score until the bottom of the eighth, when senior outfielder Peyton McMahon landed a hit that resulted in her making her way through all of the bases and back home, winning the game for the Bucs.
The final game of the weekend was a 3-0 loss against George Fox, removing Whitworth from the tournament. Despite the way things ended, the Wessel and Hayes had positive things to say about the season as a whole.
“We are the first team ever in Whitworth softball history to win a title, and that is something that is really special. I am so excited and thankful to have been a part of it,” Wessel said.
“I think the team grew the most in California. It was our first trip of the season and the team had to rely on each other because that is when our coach Randy had his heart attack,” Hayes said.
The Bucs continue to remain optimistic of future prospects for the season.
“We’re continuing to assume that we’re still going [to Regionals] and will rest up, but continue to practice until we find out for sure,” John said.