Lady Blues experiencing streaky times

Eric Smith

The Lady Blues softball team has had an up-and-down season.

Beginning the year on a tough stretch, they won only five games in the first month while losing 14. The Washburn ladies had three losing streaks of three games or more, and even though they were playing some tough teams, they weren’t winning games.

However, it seemed as soon as the Lady Blues began playing doubleheaders the outcome changed drastically. Beginning March 11, the Lady Blues went on a streak where they won 11 in a row and 15 out of 16 games. In that time they had four doubleheaders in which they outscored their opponents 57 to 26 and won seven out of eight games.

The Blues then proceeded to lose four out of five games including three at home against conference opponents.

“The season has gone all right,” said senior pitcher Kelly Swygert. “It could’ve have gone better and we hope we can play the rest season to our full potential.”

After a 10-day stretch because of bad weather the Lady Blues got back into action last week, winning three out of four. They began the week Tuesday in Maryville, Mo., where they swept the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats.

The Washburn women won their first game 6-0, getting off to a good start offensively with five runs in the second inning. They all came with two outs as sophomore Jessie Batres hit a home run of the three-run variety, scoring sophomore Katie Duncan and junior Dani White. Sophomore Tish Williams followed suit soon after, hitting a two-run homer and scoring sophomore Candi Madill. The final run came in the third when White tacked on a solo homer to the already commanding lead. Swygert was lights out in the complete game shutout, giving up only three hits while striking out four.

“We did a good job of keeping their runs to a minimum and just playing a better all-around game,” said Swygert.

Offense was the key in the win for the second game as well, as the Lady Blues finished the Bearcats 9-4. Williams, White and sophomore Whitney Tapp all hit home runs as the Lady Blues got 10 hits. Four errors by the Bearcats leading to four unearned runs for Washburn also helped the cause. Swygert had another stellar performance, giving up three earned runs in the complete game win.

“In the games against Northwest we played really well, hitting the ball great,” said Swygert.

Wednesday saw the Lady Blues come home to take on the Gorillas of Pittsburg State. The in-state rivals split as Washburn took the first game 4-3. All of the scoring in the game came before the fourth inning as the two teams kept trading back scores every half inning.

It began in the bottom of the first when Washburn scored two off of RBI singles by White and senior Malarie Fellers. The Gorillas tied the score at two in the top of the second, and Washburn took it right back with Williams’ team-leading 12th home run in the next half inning. With Pittsburg tying it back up in the top of the third, senior Brooke Devader hit her 10th home run of the year and her school-record 34th for her career to put the Lady Blues up for good. With another complete game win, Swygert moved to 16-8.

In the second game, the Washburn women lost 3-1. The Pitt State women scored all three runs in the top of the third, including one off of an error by Washburn. A controversial call in that inning led to two of those runs.

“We really got screwed by a call,” said Swygert. “They scored two of those off of a hit that was clearly foul and the umpire called it fair. It was a foot foul.”

Washburn’s only run came in the fourth when Tapp hit a triple and was knocked in one batter later with a single by sophomore Danielle Hodge. Kayla Long took the loss for the Lady Blues pitching a complete game and giving up only two earned runs.

“We played Pitt tough in both games but were unable to pull it out in the second game,” said Swygert.

The Lady Blues are now 25-21 overall and 7-5 in conference. They have three road conference doubleheaders beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Missouri Western.