Apr. 28—In their last home doubleheader of the regular season, Missouri Western softball faced a turn of events.
After the Griffons (25-15) won game one 8-3, the Ichabods (24-12) shut out Western in game two, 3-0, Tuesday at the MWSU Spring Sports Complex.
It marked the fifth time Western has endured a shutout this season.
“This team got a lot really easily early and I think that that is the demon that is now haunting us because things were just easy,” Missouri Western head coach Jen Bagley Trotter said. “Toward this time of the year when everyone is fighting, we’re out of sync with what it is to battle because we haven’t had to do it very much.”
The opener provided the Griffons with plenty of momentum, as freshman pitcher Sydney Rader hit her first career home run on a two-run shot to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Griffons closed the frame with a 3-0 lead when Missouri Western freshman Sierra Culver added an RBI single.
In the fifth, Rader added an RBI double to push Western up 4-0.
Washburn didn’t go away easily, however. The Ichabods stormed back in the top of the sixth inning with three runs to cut the deficit 4-3.
The Griffons managed to regain control when Rader had a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. Western closed out game one with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win 8-3.
Rader threw a complete game, allowing three runs on nine hits and striking out seven.
“It was a a good win for us. I think that we took a lot of steps forward. Our defense was better. Our hitting was much better and everything just worked out,” Rader said.
The comfort zone the Griffons created with the big victory was threatened early on in game two when the Ichabods scored three runs on three hits off Missouri Western senior Kaili Hinds in the top of the first inning.
“The rest of that game, defensively and pitching, we had momentum. Offensively, we just couldn’t get going,” Bagley Trotter said. “But if you can’t score runs, you can’t win games, so that’s the thing.”
Natalie Kissinger came on in relief for the final six innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two.
Western’s offense had a difficult time against Washburn pitcher Jaycee Ginter, as the Griffons fell 3-0.
Missouri Western senior Emma Hoffart had two of Missouri Western’s seven hits, while junior Taylor Hoelscher had the only extra base hit with a double. Junior Sydni Hawkins, Rader and sophomore Chloe Armstrong each added a single.
Bagley Trotter felt frustrated after the loss, noting how hard it is to find yourself this late in the season.
“If we get scored on first, it takes us awhile to get back into our comfort zone,” Bagley Trotter said. “We just have to get tougher. We’re playing soft mentally. We’re just not battling like a team has to be battling this time of the year.”
With four games left this season, Bagley Trotter knows her team will need to be tenacious on the road ahead.
“Things are going to be hard from here on out. Everybody is gunning for a place in the conference tournament. Everybody wants to play in the postseason, and so we’re going to have nothing but hard,” Bagley Trotter said.
The Griffons finish the regular season with a doubleheader at Pittsburg State on Friday starting at 2 p.m. and a doubleheader at Missouri Southern on Saturday at noon.
Micaela Dea can be reached at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowDea