Owls Battle Sloppy Conditions to Finish with Split
PARKVILLE, MO -- Despite an early start, the William Woods University softball team ran into worsening weather conditions as the doubleheader progressed, with the Owls picking up a split with Park University on Saturday afternoon. Both games went into extra innings, with the Owls prevailing 6-5 in the opener before falling 3-4 in the nightcap.
William Woods threatened in the first inning of the opener, as Ilissa Facchini picked up a one-out single, moving to third on a Kelsey Schulte sacrifice and a Caroline Sicht single. Unfortunately, the Owls retired in the inning, stranding two.
The Owls stranded two in the top of the third as well, but were able to push a run across in the top of the fourth as Sam Parsons atoned for her first-inning strikeout with a leadoff single. After a sacrifice from Kristy Pluchinski put her on second, a Kacey Scharnhorst double scored Parsons.
Park responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning, chasing Owls starter MacKenzie Bowden from the game.
WWU tried to respond in the top of the fifth, putting two runners on - Facchini hit-by-pitch with one out and a two-out single from Sicht - but couldn't light the scoreboard.
In the sixth, however, the Owls loaded the bases, with a one-out single from Lindsey LeCuru scoring Mariah Danison - pinch-running for Pluchinski - followed by a 2-RBI double from Facchini. LeCuru scored as Schulte grounded out to second, and it would be the final run of the inning.
WWU threatened again in the top of the seventh, but stranded another pair of runners, allowing Park the opportunity to tie the game with a single run in the bottom of the seventh, which they would do.
The Owls would break open the game in the top of the eighth, as LeCuru doubled in the lead off spot, with Facchini scoring her immediately on a single.
William Woods would hold off Park in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage as Park looked to have scored the tying run only to have it called back due to batter's interference. Becca Schemmer picked up the win as she got Megan Palmer to fly out harmlessly to center.
The Owls jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second game, scoring two in the first and one in the second. WWU nearly added three more runs in the bottom of the third, drawing three straight one-out walks, but they couldn't take advantage of the free passes.
Park would also load the bases in the top of the fourth, but didn't muster a run until the top of the fifth, where they pushed two across. After drawing a leadoff walk to open the inning and picking up a single to put runners on first and second, Pluchinski made a huge grab on a line shot from Kalla Jones, doubling off Taylor Lipps. As the rain picked up a bit, Kyla Tatum hit a short shot that Parsons couldn't get a handle on, allowing Park to score one. A pair of wild pitches allowed Tatum to move to third, scoring on a Jamie Tanno single.
The Owls would hold Park scoreless in the top of the sixth, but as a squall of rain moved through in the top of the seventh, the Pirates were able to tie the game at 3-all as Palmer drew a walk to open the inning, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and scoring on a Tatum single. WWU limited the damage, as Tanno was intentionally walked before Schulte struck out Shaya Kinsey to end the inning.
William Woods wasn't able to end the game in the bottom of the seventh, retiring in order and sending the game to extra innings.
In an effort to get the game in, the coaches had agreed prior to the game to begin international tiebreaker play in the eighth inning - instead of the tenth as per AMC regulations - and Park would take advantage as the rain picked up again. After getting the leadoff batter to pop out, a wild pitch sent her to third. The Owls were able to retire a second Park batter, checking the runner back to third on a harmless grounder, but after a walk, Schulte lost the handle on a pitch, sailing it over Macy Wierchem's head to the backstop, scoring a run for the Pirates.
WWU limited the damage, getting out of the inning with a flyout to right, but couldn't muster the tying run in the bottom of the frame. Wierschem was able to advance Whitney Eufinger to third on a sacrifice, but a Scharnhorst strikeout and a flyout to center by Ashley DePew ended the game.
The Owls move to 26-15 (11-3 AMC) with the split, remaining solidly in second place in the conference. WWU returns home on Monday to host Missouri Baptist University in a 2 p.m. doubleheader.