Western softball bounced back in a 6-2 win in the second game of a doubleheader saturday against Northwest Nazarene University to go .500 over the weekend. The Vikings stand 10-8 overall and 5-3 in conference play, following the homestand.
The Vikings split their first doubleheader on Friday, March 4, and then split their second doubleheader on Saturday, March 5.
In the last game on Saturday, freshman pitcher Shearyna Labasan worked into some early trouble in the top of the third inning. Walking the first batter she faced, the following two batters reached base on a bloop hit and another walk loading the bases full with no outs. Facing early damage Labasan coolly attacked the plate getting ahead in the count 0-2. Ahead in the count, Labasan worked the edges of the strike zone bringing the count even at 2-2. Labasan battled back blowing a pitch past the hitter to get the strikeout, getting a critical out.
The Vikings defense was able to come up with a huge stop, turning a double play keeping the Crusaders off the board in the top of the third.
Labasan settled in from there, going on to record four straight putouts through the top of the fifth, and then three straight putouts to end the game.
“I think I pitched pretty good but my defense really helped me out a lot,” Labasan said. “I tried to hit my spots and let my defense make the plays and they came up big for me.”
The Vikings responded immediately in the bottom of the frame. Junior Kali Patterson drove a slicing ball to the left field corner for a lead off double. Patterson advanced to third on a one-out single by senior Alexie Levin that dropped just over the first baseman’s head. With a runner in scoring position the Vikings wasted no time, sophomore Emily Benson drove in Patterson to take a two to one lead.
Levin and Benson advanced on the play to second and third.
Head coach Amy Suiter made the adjustment to hit senior Jordan Walley for freshman McKenna Mathis.
With runners on second and third Walley wasted no time getting on top of a pitch drilling a screaming line drive off of the center fielder’s glove. Scoring Levin and Benson taking a lead that Labasan later stole.
“We definitely made adjustments at the plate, we didn’t make any adjustments at the plate the first game,” Suiter said. “[We were] learning from each other’s at bats and executing when we needed to execute.”
“[Labasan] didn’t have to throw a lot of pitches and was really efficient in what she threw, it was nice to see.” Suiter said. “She did a good job with us yesterday too.”
“A lot of people contributed,” Suiter said. “A lot of big hits.”
Walley had a big three RBI day for the Vikings, going 2-4 with two doubles in the second game victory over the Crusaders.
“I’ve been seeing the ball really well lately.” Walley said. “I just take each at bat one at a time and see what happens.”
“I am excited for the rest of the season being my senior year, I am excited more that we are starting to grow as a team so we’ll peak at the right time,” Walley said. “I think we are getting close, just letting no one beat us, being strong through those situations and I think we are getting there.”