Softball seniors go out with a bang

The Wildcats take weekend sweep, beating Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State

Photo by Rachel Vogt
Baylee Rial

Rachel Vogt, Staff Writer

The Wayne State softball team went two for four, getting swept by Upper Iowa University last Tuesday and delivering two losses to Minnesota Crookston.

While facing the Upper Iowa Peacocks, Wayne State was limited to just five hits in the two games as WSC fell 7-0 and 9-3.

The opener saw Upper Iowa’s Emily Kisch fire a two-hit shut-out on the Wildcats as the Peacocks recorded a 7-0 win.

Junior Morgan Vasa said the team didn’t really know a whole lot about the Peacocks heading into the game. “We knew they were decently good hitters so our defense needed to be ready,” said Vasa.

UIU struck for five runs in the first inning to take control early and then added two more runs in the fourth. Wayne State’s two hits were a fourth inning single by junior Alyx Hagen and a sixth inning single from senior Katelyn Wobken.

“I think we started out slow and couldn’t really get it going,” said Vasa. “But game two we started out stronger and continued to stay strong throughout the game, but just didn’t get the results we wanted.”

In the second game, WSC mounted a sixth inning rally to get within one run, but the host Peacocks erupted for five insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to complete the sweep with a 9-3 victory.

“We changed our defensive approach for game two,” said Vasa. “We saw what we needed to work on and attacked those issues at practice to work and talk through them.”

UIU scored one run in the third, two in the fourth and one more in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.

WSC had just one hit entering the top of the sixth inning, but the ’Cats used a walk, two hit batters and a pair of hits to produce three runs in the sixth and cut the Peacock advantage to 4-3.

A walk to junior Baylee Rial, single from junior Emily Chandler and freshman Raquel Penke, hit by a pitch, loaded the bases with just one out in the sixth.

After senior Rachel Shumaker popped to shortstop, junior Abbie Hix was hit by a pitch to bring in the first run followed by a two-run single from junior Taylor Menard making the score 4-3.

But Upper Iowa regained momentum with five insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to fend off the Wildcats 9-3.

Menard had a two-run single to lead WSC at the plate while Hix and Chandler each singled.

WSC then turned around to face the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles, recording two victories with scores of 11-0 and 7-3.

Vasa said the ’Cats really focused on relaxing and having fun in the first game.

The Wildcats got on the board in the first inning of the first game thanks to an RBI single from Chandler that scored Vasa, who reached on a bunt single.

Both teams were held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Wayne State erupted for five runs off six hits.

Menard led off the inning with a single through the left side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman shortstop Annie Grammar. Senior Jordyn Breitbarth walked and Wobken singled to load the bases for the ’Cats.

Rial then stepped up to the plate and hit a two-RBI single. Chandler followed with an RBI single to right field that scored Wobken. An RBI single from Shumaker and an RBI double from Hix closed out the scoring in the inning for WSC.

The next inning, the Wildcats continued to pile on the runs, scoring five runs off three hits. Grammar led off the inning with a home run to left center to score the first run.

With the bases loaded, pinch hitter freshman Ashley Hernandez belted a grand slam over the left field fence to make the score 11-0 and end the game by run rule.

“For the second game we focused on only worrying about our team and playing for us,” said Vasa. “Just seeing what we were capable of doing the first game and knowing that’s what it should be like throughout every game.”

Both teams’ bats were held in check for the first half of game two. WSC was able to get on the board first and generate one run in the fourth. WSC used a sacrifice fly from Hix to score Chandler, who reached on an infield single.

Minnesota Crookston responded in the sixth to score three run, all with two outs, capitalizing on three Wildcat errors. After two quick groundouts to start the inning, UMC’s Khailyn Neumayer singled to centerfield and advanced to second on a fielding error. Heather Cunningham walked and Kassidy Klaphake loaded the bases when she singled to second base. Rocky Bjorge cleared the bases off two fielding errors by Wayne State to give the Golden Eagles their first runs of the day and a 3-1 lead.

The Wildcats answered in the bottom half of the inning when Menard singled to left field and Grammar walked to put runners on first and second.

The big hit of the inning came from Breitbarth. She stepped up to the plate and crushed her eighth home run of the season to regain the lead 4-3.

WSC used a stolen base, RBI double and RBI groundout to close out the scoring in the sixth and go ahead 7-3.

Wayne State held Minnesota Crookston scoreless in the top of the seventh to capture a sweep over the Golden Eagles.

The ’Cats then turned around to face Bemidji State in their last home double header, and they came up with the sweep, raking up scores of 4-2 and 8-3.

Vasa collected five hits and scored five runs on the day to lead Wayne State to a 4-2 and 8-3 sweep over the Beavers.

“We focused on ourselves,” said Vasa. “Coach told us to not even worry about the other team and that’s exactly what we did, we played our game and played for our team.”

The Wildcats got on the board in the first inning scoring two runs on three hits. Wobken walked to start the inning and Vasa followed with a single through the left side. With runners on the corners, Chandler singled through the right side to score Wobken. Vasa was able to score when Shumaker singled to left center.

Vasa said she had a very positive mindset going into Bemidji.

“Getting a sweep the day before and turning around and wanting to do the same exact thing along with the rest of our team, we were buckled in and ready to go the second day,” said Vasa.

In the top of the third, Bemidji State cut into the Wildcat lead scoring one run off a solo shot to centerfield by Makayla Pagel to make the score 3-1.

Wayne State got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Vasa singled and scored on an RBI single up the middle by Hagen.

WSC tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning after Vasa crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by Hagen to push the score to 4-1.

The Beavers were able to produce one run in the top half of the sixth before being shut down in the seventh, giving the Wildcats a 4-2 win in game one.

Game two saw the Wildcats respond to a three-run first inning by the Beavers.

After Bemidji State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top half of the first inning, Wayne State scored multiple runs in the first, second and third innings and a single run in the sixth to regain control of the game and ensure the sweep.

Wobken scored the first run of the game for the ’Cats when she belted a home run to center field. Vasa continued her hot streak, singling to third base and scoring on an RBI single from Hix. An RBI single by Menard on the next at bat capped off the first inning scoring and tied the game 3-3.

The Wildcat offense continued to roll in the second and third innings. Wobken led off the second with a double and scored on a throwing error. Vasa scored her fifth run of the day on an RBI single by Hagen.

WSC used two hits and a Beaver error to add two runs in the third. Menard and Grammar both collected singles and scored off a sacrifice fly by Wobken and a throwing error by the Bemidji State third baseman.

Wobken crossed home plate one last time for Wayne State in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 8-3 thanks to an RBI single up the middle by Chandler.

“This sweep has given us so much confidence. Seeing how well our pitchers have done these past few days along with our defense and bats there’s a lot of confidence going around our team right now and that’s exactly what we need,” said Vasa.

The Wildcats will be back in action today in Marshall, Minnesota, taking on Southwest Minnesota State University.