Willamette’s softball team took on theird place in the Northwest Conference (NWC) George Fox University in the final weekend of their 2019 season. The Bearcats finished with a 7-32 overall record and 6-22 NWC record. WU got swept but battled to keep the game close in every game.
In the first of two games on Friday, April 19, WU took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Senior Emily Bishop singled to center field while junior Jocelyn Glasgo was hit by a pitch. George Fox loaded the bases after first-year Payten Healy was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Bailey Hillmick recorded a run batted in (RBI) with an infield hit to the second baseman. Junior Vanessa Almaraz popped up to the second baseman but was able to score Glasgo for the second run. In the bottom of the second inning, the Bruins battled back to tie the game, 2-2.
George Fox added four runs in the bottom of the third and fourth inning to take a four-run lead, 6-2. The lead proved to be too much for the Bearcats to overcome in the remainder of the game, and although WU was able to score one in the seventh, they were unable to make the full comeback.
In the second game on Friday, the Bearcats took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Bishop and Glasgo reached first base after being hit by a pitch. Almaraz reached first on a fielding error by the Bruins’ shortstop and simultaneously allowed Bishop and Glasgo to score. George Fox put up one run in the bottom of the first to make it a one-run game, 2-1.
The second inning was scoreless from both teams but George Fox ran ahead with the score in the bottom of the third when Aaliyah Kautz of George Fox hit a grand slam to help the Bruins take a three-run lead, 5-2. The bottom of the fourth inning sealed the deal for the Bruins as they scored eight runs, leading to the premature ending of the game in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.
Willamette battled in the final two games of the season and amassed 20 hits over the course of both games. In the first game, it was Almaraz who recorded the most RBIs in the first inning. Healy and Bishop, who was hit by a pitch and was walked, bothscored on Almaraz’s hit. WU held the lead, 3-2, until the top of the third inning when George Fox put together a five-run inning.
Showing resilience, the Bearcats chipped away at George Fox’s lead. Heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the score was 12-7. A clutch four-run inning gave WU a fighting chance at winning the game. First-year Meghan Hook hit into a fielder’s choice, which led to an error that scored first-year Kelsey Wong and Almaraz. Later in the inning, sophomore Danielle Koontz hit a two-RBI single to right field. Junior Olivia Scott and first-year Cassie Cosler scored on the play to bring the score to 12-11. The Bruins scored one run in the top of the seventh for insurance. In the bottom of the seventh, the Bearcats were unable to muster up a comeback and surrendered, 13-11.
In the final game of their season, the Bearcats lost 12-8 but recorded a weekend-high 11 hits. The game featured Glasgo, who went three-for-four with four RBIs. Almaraz and Wong both went two-for-four with Almaraz recording an RBI. Bishop, Koontz and junior Maya Shipway each had one hit in this game.
The softball team will be losing only two players next year, Reanna Lancaster and Emily Bishop. The rest of the team will work hard in the off season preparing for the 2020 season.