by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
TUSCON, Ariz. – Whitworth softball closed out the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic with a split against Coe College and Central College (Iowa) on Sunday afternoon.
The split means the Pirates will re-enter Northwest Conference play next weekend with a 7-7 overall record and an 0-2 conference mark. The Bucs finished the tournament with a 4-2 record. Central moved to 3-3 while Coe dropped to 2-5.
Game 1: Whitworth 10, Coe 8
The Bucs won the first game of the day in comeback fashion to push their win streak to four games.
Coe lead from the first moments of the game after taking advantage of Pirate mistakes in the top of the first inning. The first four Kohawk batters reached due to walks and errors, scoring two runs in that time. Anna Simon singled in two more, and Coe maintained a 5-0 lead after the first inning.
Whitworth began cutting into the lead right away, scoring a pair of runs on a single from Rheanne Lewis in the bottom of the first inning. The Pirates continued the comeback with two more runs in the third. Morgan Portlock tripled to drive in Kelsey Downey and Brynn Radke doubled to score Portlock, slicing the deficit to two runs.
After Logan Miller singled home Lewis in the fifth inning to drop the deficit to one, the Kohawks rallied for two more runs in the top of the sixth. The rally bumped the lead to 8-5 heading into the bottom of the frame.
Down three, the Bucs' offense ignited for five runs in bottom of the sixth inning to earn the comeback win. Brynn Radke doubled and Madelyn Carlson walked to put runners on for Kaylie Lowery. The freshman singled, scoring Radke from second. Then, Kaylee Rosenbaum doubled in Carlson. Miller followed Rosenbaum's double with one of her own while Radke and Downey closed the big inning with RBI singles.
Ashley Trueblood kept the Kohawk bats quiet in the seventh inning to secure the victory, earning herself a win after entering the game in relief of Carlson. Hannah Helms took the loss for Coe.
Game 2: Central (Iowa) 10, Whitworth 5
The Pirates four-game win streak came to an end against the Dutch, as Central scored seven runs in the fifth inning to earn a win.
Prior to the big inning, both teams scored a pair of runs. Central took the lead on a double and wild pitch in the second inning while the Pirates responded with two runs of their own on a throwing error a single from Portlock in the third.
Both offenses were held in check until the sixth inning. Tied at 2-2, the Dutch offense came alive, scoring seven runs with two outs to pull away and earn the win. Kaitlyn Anderson and Paige Dickel had the key hits in the inning. Anderson tripled in a pair of runs, and Dickel finished the frame with two doubles, a run, and a RBI.
Maraih Fritz earned the win for Central, and Carlson was hit with the loss for the Pirates.
Looking Ahead: Whitworth returns to Northwest Conference play with a four-game series at Puget Sound on March 10-11.