Washburn freshman Tish Williams is on pace to have the best single-season hitting performance in school history. The Lady Blues softball team defeated Park University last Thursday in Topeka, 10-2 and 10-4. Williams shelled opposing pitchers in the two games, going 6 for 7 and driving in nine runs. She was especially unkind to Ashley Kirk, who pitched against Washburn in the second game. Williams blistered Kirk for three home runs, breaking the Washburn single-game record.
“Tish is a great young athlete and I am very proud to be able to coach her,” said Lisa Carey, Washburn head softball coach. “There have been a lot of great hitters here at Washburn and she is one of those. We have a great hitting team so no one really feels pressure because if one person isn’t doing it then someone else will pick you up. That is great about this team.”
Through 43 games, Williams is hitting more like former baseball legend Ted Williams, with a .493 batting average, 13 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .918 slugging percentage. The 13 home runs by Williams is a Lady Blues single-season record.
Last Friday Washburn was swept in a doubleheader by the Central Missouri Jennies 4-3 in 11 innings and 8-7. Kelly Swygert, Washburn junior pitcher, was the hard-luck loser in the first game. Swygert pitched 10 innings while striking out three batters and giving up three earned runs. A throwing error in the 11th inning led to the game-winning run. In the second game, Williams was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a home run. Nicole Perkuhn was the losing pitcher (7-2).
“We have to finish up strong in conference and get a regional bid,” said Carey. “Now is the time to get hot. This team has all the potential in the world. Our defense and hitting are both strong. When we are clicking on all cylinders, I think we can play with anyone in the country.”
Washburn finished the week by sweeping Truman State University 4-3 and 7-3. In the first game, Williams was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a home run. Swygert pitched seven innings, picking up her ninth victory of the year. Batting leadoff, Williams started the second game with a bang, hitting her record-breaking 13th home run of the year. Williams went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Washburn freshman pitcher Kayla Long pitched seven innings, picking up the victory and improving her record to 8-3 on the year.
Washburn is 26-17 overall and 10-6 in the MIAA. Washburn will play a doubleheader next Tuesday at the Washburn softball complex against Missouri Western. The MIAA post-season tournament is set to begin May 4, in Shawnee, Kan., with start times to be announced.
“I am very confident in our team with the conference tourney coming up,” said Carey. We are playing pretty well, if we keep our pitching and defense tough then we will be fine.”