Softball hits a win, two losses

After a three game weekend, the ’Cats are at a 1-2 record

Rachel Vogt, Staff Writer

The WSC Wildcat softball team went 1-2 this past weekend beating Fort Hays State University and falling to the University of Nebraska Kearney and Washburn University. The Wildcats first faced the UNK Lopers. Head Coach Shelli Manson said she was happy with the energy that the ’Cats had.

“We knew it would be a little bit of a rocky start,” said Manson. “Our girls hadn’t seen live pitching yet and our pitchers hadn’t seen live hitting, so we knew it would be a little bit of a rocky start, and it was.”

UNK scored one run in the first, four in the second and one in the fourth inning to build a 6-0 lead over the ’Cats.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Wildcats got on the board with two runs thanks to an RBI single from junior Emily Chandler and a sacrifice fly by junior Alyx Hagen to make the score 6-2.

Junior Abbie Hix reached home on an error and scored on another UNK error for the WSC run in the fifth inning while senior Rachel Shumaker singled and scored on a Hix single in the sixth inning to make the score 6-4.

Senior Jordyn Breitbarth tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from senior Katelyn Wobken to trim the UNK advantage to 6-5.

With two outs, Chandler tripled and scored on a single from Hagen to tie the score at 7.

“We just had a little bit of bad luck, the other team hit a home run where the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced over,” said Manson.

That sparked momentum for UNK, leading them to five runs in the top of the eighth for an 11-6 victory over WSC.

“Overall it was a loss on paper, but we were really excited with the fight the girls had, and how they showed they can learn from their mistakes and not repeat them,” said Manson.

Wayne State turned around the following day to face the Washburn

“We seemed to come out really timid and way quieter than when we played against Kearney,” said Wobken. “We were just kind of in a lull, being quieter and just not ourselves. That’s one thing that we definitely need to be better about in future games.”

Washburn used a three-run first inning and a five-run fourth inning to get the upper hand over the Wildcats and to steal a 9-1 victory in six innings.

WSC scored its lone run of the contest with their only hit of the game, a two-out solo homer down the left field line by Chandler to make the score 3-1.

The Ichabods had nine hits in the game whereas WSC only had one. The ’Cats only had two other base runners in the game as Shumaker and Hix each drew walks in the fifth inning.

“The girls didn’t play very loose in that game,” said Manson. “They acted very tight with every play and that doesn’t lead to a very successful outcome. We challenged them after that game to not go to that place again and to stay true to themselves.”

The Wildcats then turned around later that day to face Fort Hays State.

Wayne State jumped to an early 4-0 lead and held on in extra innings to capture the 7-6 win over the Tigers.

After going scoreless in the first two innings of the game, WSC scored three runs in the top of the third to give the ’Cats an early lead.

Wayne State used a sacrifice fly from Shumaker to score junior Baylee Rial for the first run of the game. After freshman Ashley Hernandez walked, Hix had an RBI single to right center to score Chandler and Hagen for the 3-0 advantage.

WSC added another run in the fifth following a Shumaker double.

Fort Hays responded in the bottom half of the inning using three hits, a Wildcat fielding error and an RBI groundout to cut the WSC lead to 4-2.

The Wildcats were held scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings. FHSU forced the game into extra innings after tying the game 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh.

In the top of the eighth, Wobken had an RBI single to score Hix and Breitbarth to help the ’Cats regain the lead at 6-4, but the Tigers responded with two of their own to force the game into a ninth inning starting at 6-6.

WSC reclaimed the lead for good when Hix singled to right center scoring Chandler. Wayne State then forced the Tigers into three groundouts to secure the 7-6 victory.

“We’re really optimistic about this season,” said Wobken. “We were ranked 14 out of 16 in our conference for this year, so we’re trying to kind of use that as motivation. We’re trying to forget about last season because we have a lot of new girls, so we practically have a whole new team.”

Wobken and the other two senior Wildcats have theme words to use to also motivate the ’Cats.

“Grit, excellence, and Jordyn is from Hawaii, so she came up with ho’omau which means a combination between ‘perseverance and persistence and that mistakes are temporary,’” said Wobken. “It also helps that we all have really good team comradery and we get along really well, so we’re all anxious to prove that we are better than 14 out of 16.”

The Wildcats will be back in action for an away double-header against Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas on February 28 for contests at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.