Softball team wins doubleheader over McPherson

Story by Jenna Black, Photo Editor

The Baker softball team came through with two wins, 8-0 and 5-4, in a doubleheader against the McPherson Bulldogs at Cavaness Field on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Freshman pitcher Olivia Brees held the Bulldogs hitless en route to a run-rule win in the first game, and the second game was won by sophomore Stephanie Cardona’s walk-off double.

Brees took control by striking out almost half of the batters she faced. Brees says her go-to pitches change daily, but she uses her screwball and curveball frequently. Only walking two batters during her no-hitter, Brees seemed to improve on the consistency of her pitches.

The Wildcats started the charge abruptly as they scored four runs in the first inning alone. The leadoff batter, freshman Hannah Tolliver, singled to center, followed by a single from freshman Caitlin Hardgrove and another single by Cardona. Junior Lucy Staats finished off the attack with a double to center to make the score 4-0.

Sophomore Allie Zahn led the team with four RBIs and hit two doubles. Two of Zahn’s RBIs came in the fifth inning that ended the game due to run rule.

Sophomore Teagan Louthan pitched all seven innings in game two, accumulating eight strikeouts.

The Wildcats found themselves trailing 4-2 heading into the sixth inning. Senior Kelsey Vollenweider reached first base and immediately advanced to third on junior Lizzie Stover’s double to right. Senior Ilona Miller tripled to left, bringing home two runners to tie the score 4-4. Hardgrove credits Miller’s hit as the shift in momentum.

“Our team got hyped up and it carried through into the next inning,” Hardgrove, who leads the team with 20 hits on the season and a .500 batting average, said.

With the score tied in the bottom of the seventh inning, Cardona found herself up to bat with runners on first and second. Cardona came in clutch with a double to add to her collection of 16 RBIs on the season, resulting in a walk-off 5-4 win.

The Wildcats, now 9-4 on the season, will host Bethany College in a doubleheader March 1 at Cavaness Field. The Wildcats’ first Heart of America Athletic Conference game is set for March 19 against Central Methodist University. They look to improve upon their 7-11 conference record from last year.