by Matt Spencer
Whitworth’s softball team won the last three games of its series at Puget Sound in Tacoma after losing the first game 11-7. The Pirates (22-9 overall) continue to have success in Northwest Conference play as they currently hold a three game lead for first place.
The weekend started out with a 11-7 loss in which Whitworth allowed the highest amount of runs against of the season. Puget Sound put up seven runs through two innings, capitalizing on a couple defensive errors. The Loggers also hit two home runs early to the game one win.
Whitworth bounced back and went on to claim game two, 6-0, followed by doubleheader victories on Sunday with 2-0 and 8-1 wins. The difference between the first game and those that followed were defense and pitching.
Junior Makayla Lefever (13-3) collected victories in games 2 and 3 pitching 14 straight innings without a run surrendering a run and allowing only five total hits and two walks.
This strong performance came after those seven runs in game 1.
“I knew my team had my back. I was not thinking too much about [the first game] because I know we could come back from it,” Lefever said.
The Whitworth pitching staff had help throughout the weekend. Softball coach Cristal Brown was happy with the way the team settled down after the first defeat. Brown also credited the players for making adjustments between games 1 and 2.
“They talked amongst themselves and figured it out as a team,” Brown said.
Michelle Silva played a key role in turning things around for Whitworth. The sophomore third baseman had a home run and a double in game two and drove in the only two runs on a fourth inning double during game three.
“It meant a lot. Losing the first game was hard, and it was really cool to see us come together and pick each other up. We came out and played hard,” Silva said.
In the last game, junior Shannon Wessel helped produce run support for Whitworth. Wessel went two for four on the day with a three-run home run in the fifth inning to help break the game open.
For Wessel and her teammates, the weekend signified the team’s ability to work together after a tough loss.
“I think today was about all of us playing for each other. We have put a lot of hard work into the season and it’s getting down to crunch time,” Wessel said.
Next weekend, Whitworth (14-6 NWC) will take on Pacific Lutheran (11-9 NWC) here in Spokane. The dual doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday will each start at noon.