Blues playing waiting game

First honored Junior first baseman Dani White is the only Lady Blue to make the All-MIAA first team this season.

Eric Smith

The Washburn softball team had a busy last week, playing seven games in six days.

However, after losing five out of seven, including two in the MIAA conference tournament, those could have been its last games of the season as its postseason fate lies with the NCAA selection committee.

The Lady Blues began the week last Sunday getting swept in the Turnpike Tussle by No. 21-ranked Emporia State, 4-2 and 11-3. The Washburn ladies then traveled to St. Joseph, Mo. the next day where they split a doubleheader with Missouri Western, winning 6-4 and losing 5-4.

The MIAA conference tournament began Thursday, and the Lady Blues had three games on the first day. The early game saw the fifth-seeded Lady Blues dominate the fourth-seeded Pittsburg Gorillas 6-0. Senior Kelly Swygert got the win with a complete game shutout.

“Everyone played well in this game, and we were all excited to get a win,” said Swygert, who earned her 18th victory of the season and allowed only three hits.

The afternoon game for the Lady Blues was another duel against No. 1-seed Emporia State. The Hornets got the best of the Washburn ladies, beating them 11-2.

“Mandy Tarbutton hit a home run that tied it at two, and that made it a whole new ball game,” said sophomore Tish Williams. “But it was just really hard when Emporia State kept hitting it up the middle.”

The Hornets ended up getting 15 more hits, taking advantage of three Washburn errors and scoring nine more runs to run-rule the Lady Blues in six innings.

“Emporia State is a really strong team,” said Williams. “We played them tough for a while.”

The night cap for the softball team was against No. 2-seed Central Missouri. After going down 2-0 to the Jennies, the game was postponed in the top of the third because of severe weather warnings. The game was finished Friday with UCM hanging on to win 2-0.

“We played well being aggressive on both offensive and defense without making any errors,” said Williams.

Emporia State ended up playing Central Missouri for the championship game, with the Hornets taking the title 4-0 in 14 innings.

The Lady Blues currently sit at a record of 29-26 and 10-8 in the MIAA. They are ranked eighth in the North Central Region rankings, and the top eight teams in the region get bids to keep playing in the regional tournament. But they won’t find out for sure whether they have a future in the 2008 season until the NCAA selection committee selects the teams for the tournament.

“I think we’re in,” said Williams. “I’m staying positive. Coach [Lisa] Carey told us to stay positive. I really hope we can get in. This has been an up-and-down year. We’ve worked hard.”