Softball team drops three out of four over weekend

Story by Jenna Black, Photo Editor

The Baker softball team spent the weekend in Iowa, where the Wildcats played doubleheaders against William Penn University on Saturday and Graceland on Sunday. The Wildcats finished the trip with one win against William Penn and lost to Graceland by small margins in both games, 2-0 and 2-1.

In the win against William Penn, freshman Olivia Brees only gave up one hit and accumulated 10 strikeouts. Brees ranks third within the Heart of America Athletic Conference in batters struck out per game with an 8.57 average.

Senior Ilona Miller singled to center in the fifth inning, which sent junior Sloane Brady home for the first run of the game. Freshman Rachael Wheeler hit a single in the sixth inning to score sophomore Steph Cardona. That would cease the scoring from both teams as Baker picked up a 2-0 win.

Things quickly turned in William Penn’s favor at the start of game two as they tallied up three runs in the first inning. Freshman Caitlin Hardgrove drove in the only Baker run of the game in the fifth with a single to center field. Hardgrove led the team at the plate by going 3-for-3. William Penn was able to get in four more runs to hand Baker a 7-1 loss.

In the first game against Graceland, sophomore Teagan Louthan got the start at the pitcher’s circle, but Brees came in to replace Louthan in the fifth inning. Brees is used to constantly pitching as she ranks first in the Heart in innings pitched at 159.1 total innings.

Both teams were held at zero runs until the sixth when Graceland’s Breanna Fortune and Sadie Greene each hit a home run to win the game 2-0. Baker struggled from the batter’s box as Brady had two of the team’s five total hits.

The second game was a similar scenario. This time around Baker was ahead 1-0 headed into the sixth inning. The only run scored by Baker came in the fourth from Wheeler’s home run to left field.

“It was an inside pitch and I knew that the umpire would call it a strike if I let it go,” Wheeler said.

However, the Yellow Jackets once again prevailed in the sixth inning with a two-run homer from Maryse Garcia to make the final score 2-1.

With only five games left until the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament, the Wildcats are looking to make it into the conference tournament. Only the top eight teams within the Heart are able to play in the tournament, and Baker is currently tied at eighth with Missouri Valley.

The Wildcats will play Missouri Valley at home April 13 in hopes of moving up in the standings. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Sophomore Steph Cardona compared the Wildcats’ Heart tournament chances to an “unpredictable roller coaster” and believes the April 13 Missouri Valley game will be the start of the upward part of the ride.