Softball team splits home doubleheader with Bethany

Story by Bailey Conklin, Sports Editor

The softball team split its doubleheader against the Bethany Swedes on Tuesday in Baldwin City. Back-to-back Heart of America Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week Olivia Brees’ pitching put the Wildcats on top with a 3-2 victory in game one, but the Swedes rallied during the second game and beat the Wildcats 19-10.

In the first game, Brees was able to strike out 13 batters giving up only two runs in the seven innings she pitched. Junior Lucy Staats had 2 RBIs and freshman Caitlin Hardgrove had the other RBI for the first game.

Baker’s offense saw four total hits in the first game, two from Staats, one from Hardgrove, and one from Stephanie Cardona. Senior Jasmine Stewart struck out 10 batters for Bethany in game one.

The break between games was met with laughter and good spirits from the home side. Players conversed while eating snacks and played games on the field before the start of the next game.

“I think that having fun and just being relaxed and just chilling out, taking a breather, dancing it out or something, helps the team morale,” freshman Rachel Wheeler said. “Also, it just kept us warm, which helped.”

Wheeler believes the weather played a factor during the games. Even with practices being conducted in cold conditions, Wheeler said it’s a “mental game” when it comes to cold weather games.

The second game of the night brought pitching changes from both teams. The Swedes hit three runs in the first inning, and four different Baker pitchers each gave up at least four runs.

Bethany freshman Elizabeth Endsley had a game-high five RBIs followed by three RBIs from junior Anna Crawford. Baker tied the game 5-5 in the third inning, but the Swedes continued to hit, adding five runs in the fourth inning.

“We were always playing from behind, and I think we were trying to chase to catch up instead of moving ahead,” Wheeler said.

After the fifth inning, Bethany led 14-7. Baker fought to catch up in the sixth inning with three runs, but Bethany fired back with five runs in the seventh inning. The ‘Cats never gained a lead on the Swedes.

Cardona, Staats, and Wheeler each had 3 RBIs in the second game, and Baker as a whole had 14 hits.

Bethany now stand at 4-10 overall, and Baker moves to 10-5 heading to Wichita for the Friends University Invitational on March 4-5.