by Will Carsh
On Feb. 28, the softball team pulled off a double win against Willamette, shutting them out 3-0 in the first game and achieving a 9-5 victory with the second. The following day, Whitworth lost a game 3-1 before finishing out the weekend with an 11-0 victory, resulting in an overall series win against Willamette.
Whitworth’s defense played a massive role in the first game, preventing Willamette from scoring throughout the game. After successfully preventing Willamette from scoring in the first inning, senior outfielder Peyton McMahon broke the ice and landed a hit that resulted in a Whitworth run. This trend continued into the second and third innings with Willamette being held at bay until Whitworth’s offense retaliated with two more runs.
For the rest of the game, however, not a single run against Willamette was scored. Inning after inning onwards, the game was entirely defensive, with both Whitworth and Willamette preventing runs from reaching the board. Whitworth proceeded to get a total of 21 outs to Willamette’s 18 outs, and in spite of some close calls in the fifth and sixth innings, the game ended at 3-0.
“We hit well today and played a really defensive game. We have a really solid defense,” freshman UT Kelsey Downey said of the first match.
The Pirates followed up their first victory against Willamette with another one that began a half hour later. Gaining a 6-0 lead early on, the Bucs continued their offensive strike by scoring three more in the latter half of the game, but also let five get by.
The next day, the Bucs had their third game against Willamette. For the first four innings, not a single run was scored. The second and third innings were particularly tense, with Whitworth barely preventing the Bearcats from scoring. They first gained an out on a near home run in the second and then successfully stopped a Willamette player midway through a steal. During the fifth inning, Willamette landed a single run before getting two more due to a home run hit. Whitworth managed to get a run up on the board during the next inning, but didn’t achieve a comeback, resulting in a 3-1 loss.
The fourth and final game off the series kicked off shortly afterward with the Bucs holding off Willamette defensively before hitting two runs within the first inning. While the second inning saw no points being scored either way, the third inning saw a major change of pace for the game. After scoring twice again, Whitworth hit three home runs, with sophomore Kayla Batastini hitting the first and being shortly followed by senior Peyton McMahon and sophomore Kelsey Stroshine. With no more runs made for the rest of the game, the final tally came to be 11-0, resulting in Whitworth winning the series against Willamette.
“We out-hit and out-pitched them, with very minimal earned runs given up,” head coach Cristal Brown said.
The wins against Willamette continues the team’s streak of no series losses.
“We have a team goal to not lose a single series,” freshman outfielder Chelsea Hayes said.
The Whitworth softball team will be playing another four games this Saturday and Sunday against Pacific Lutheran at home.