by Sena Hughes
With a Northwest Conference Tournament berth on the line, the Whitworth softball team traveled to Newberg, Ore., last weekend to take on the Bruins of George Fox University.
Whitworth needed to sweep the series in order to reach the conference tournament. The Pirates went down in a hard-fought battle on Saturday afternoon, zapping their playoff hopes.
Still, head coach Cristal Brown was optimistic in her reflections.
“I’d say we actually did really well overall all weekend,” Brown said on Sunday. “Our loss yesterday came down yesterday to one pitch that could have made a difference.”
The series was ultimately split 2-2. Neither team won two consecutive games.
In Saturday’s first game, the Pirates came out energized and crushed the Bruins in a 9-1 victory, called off after six innings in compliance with the NCAA eight-run mercy rule. Taylor Gilbert allowed just two hits in the game and would be the backbone of the Whitworth team for the rest of the weekend.
“Taylor Gilbert did an awesome job,” Brown said. “She threw all but 1.2 innings for us this weekend and did amazing.”
Whitworth didn’t quite have what it would have taken to round the corner in game two. Senior second basemen Sami Parr led the team with one run, one hit and two RBIs on the game. The Bruins won 5-4, thanks to pitching, which held Whitworth to no hits following the second inning.
Gilbert was again phenomenal in Sunday’s earlier game, leading Whitworth to the 6-0 victory. Junior Jamie Brunner dominated offensively with a pair of runs, hits and RBIs, respectively.
The final game of the season for the Bucs came down to one inning. All three of GFU’s runs were scored during the fourth, and Whitworth never recovered. Again, Brunner led the team with two hits and one run. Gilbert was relieved from the circle for the first time all weekend for the final 1.2 innings.
The Pirates finish their season 19-21 overall and 13-15 in the Northwest Conference.
“I think the weekend was a little bit indicative of what the season was like, where we played some good softball and it didn’t always turn out how we wanted it to,” Brown said. “We’re excited for next year.”
Contact Sena Hughes at email@example.com.