Chace Davy, Staff Reporter
April 11, 2012
Central softball traveled to Montana to play the Montana State University Billings Hornets (MSUB), coming out of the four-game, two-day series with losses in the first three. Scores were 9-1, 7-5, and 7-2, but Central was able to rebound in the final game, winning 16-1.
The CWU women, who are 9-14 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) (13-22 overall), have had a rough time winning games this season. Seven of their losses have been by two runs or less.
“We haven’t been able to get good pitching and hitting in the same game,” Maria Gau, sophomore pitcher, said. “Either we get good hitting one game or we get good pitching and no hitting to back it up.”
The Wildcats had both good pitching and hitting in their 16-1 victory on Saturday. Freshman pitcher Heidy Wells allowed just three hits in that game, despite the Hornets having one of the better hitting squads in the league.
“It might have pumped me up more to just be like ‘I have to bring my ‘A game,’ because they’re going to bring their ‘A game,’” Wells said.
CWU combined for 14 hits in five innings and scored in every inning except for the fifth, including a 12-run, 8-hit second inning.
“Once that first batter got a hit it started a merry-go-round on the base paths, and it just snowballed from there,” Wells said. The team was able to play with a lot more confidence once they got a lead, and never looked back.
Only one starter didn’t get a hit in the game. Both Wells and senior infielder Liz Jusko hit home runs in the game, and Jusko had four RBI’s.
The Hornets were 24-8 overall heading into the weekend series and in first place in the GNAC.
However, their impressive record didn’t deter the Wildcats.
“The fourth time around, we all came together and were able to convert the runs,” Wells said. “Defense was solid all the way around; the outfield was making great plays, and it was a tremendous help.”
CWU plays MSUB two more times at home this season, and Wells thinks that the Hornets will approach the Wildcats with a little more caution next time after seeing how CWU is capable of batting.
MSUB committed five errors in the victory. Wells contributes that to hard hitting at the plate by Central.
“It’s not like [MSUB] were out there playing wreckball,” Wells said. “We were just hitting it hard and making it hard for them to handle.”
Head softball coach Mallory Holtman is happy with how her team played throughout the series, despite losing three out of the four games, and attributes the losses to good defense by MSUB.
“Defensively, they were really solid,” Holtman said. “We hit the ball hard, and even when we hit it in gaps they would come up with some amazing plays.”
MSUB was able to capitalize on the few mistakes CWU made in the first game and hit some well-placed balls, which is what helped lead to their victory over Central in the first three games.
“Sometimes that just happens,” Holtman said. “I think all weekend we were on it, and it just didn’t fall for us until the final game.”
The Wildcats have struggled, but are still going to compete to finish off the regular season on a high note.
“At this point in the season we have nothing to lose,” said Jusko. “We’re just going into every game looking to fight hard and try to get a win.”
Wells has a bright outlook on what the future holds for the team heading into next year.
“We might not go past the [regular] season this year, but next year we’ll be there and we’ll be a contender,” Wells said.