Softball team struggles early

Eric Smith

The Washburn Lady Blues softball team was on the road again this weekend at the University of Central Oklahoma Classic in Edmond, Okla. And with winter still in full form, wins were tough to come by.

The women began on Saturday with three losses by a total of four runs.

“The weather was difficult,” said sophomore catcher Whitney Tapp. “We really did play well as a team for the weather that was thrown at us down here.”

The Lady Blues lost their first game 2-1 to Southern Nazarene. Both teams had minimal offense combining for only six hits in the pitcher’s duel.

“Our pitching and defense was really outstanding today,” said sophomore pitcher Megan Kimerer. “But our bats just popped up a lot of stuff and we hit it right to them whenever we hit it.”

SNU plated two runs in the bottom of the fourth off of sophomore starter Nicole Perkuhn. With one last chance in the top of the seventh, junior first baseman Dani White doubled and senior outfielder Mandy Tarbutton tripled to finally put the Lady Blues on the board. But with one out, Washburn women could score no more. Perkuhn pitched six innings and took the loss, falling to 0-2.

“Nicole in the first game was actually sticking through really well for the conditions that we were having to deal with,” said Tapp.

The next game for Washburn was against tournament host UCO. The Bronchos beat the Lady Blues 3-1, getting out to an early 3-0 lead. White had the only run with a solo home run in the top of the sixth. The Lady Blues left eight on base and senior starter Kelly Swygert (1-4) received the loss, allowing three earned runs and eight hits in six innings.

“Basically we couldn’t string hits together,” said Tapp. “When we had girls on base we left too many out there.”

The final game Saturday had results similar to the previous as the Lady Blues took on St. Gregory’s and lost 2-1. In the top of the second, Washburn scored first with a single up the middle by sophomore outfielder Candi Madill scoring sophomore utility player Danielle Hodge. The lead held for nearly the entire game, until the bottom of the seventh when St. Gregory’s rallied for the win with two runs. The Lady Blues were again held to just three hits as they stranded five. Sophomore Kayla Long gained her third loss, giving up only three hits and two runs in more than six innings of work.

“The pitching was actually really great today,” said Tapp. “Kelly shut out UCO for every inning except for one and Kayla did the same against the last team we played.”

The Lady Blues will be back in action 9 a.m. Saturday in Edwardsville, Ill., at the SIU-Edwardsville Tournament.

“This is a new tournament and the team that is hosting it actually won the Division II World Series,” said Tapp. “It’ll be really exciting to go up there and compete with teams of that level and see how we stand up against them.”