In a twist of events, the Missouri Western softball team didn’t exactly play who it was supposed to this past weekend.
However, the Griffons won all five games they encountered in the diamond.
After rain cancelled the final two days of the Southeastern Oklahoma State Shootout, the Griffons were on their way home with a 3-0 weekend record before Western coach Jen Bagley received a text from Northeastern State asking if the Griffons would match up with the Riverhawks.
To nobody’s surprise, the team took the challenge and swept them.
“It was the two games you love to play as a team,” said Bagley, referring to the difference in each game — one, a close pull-through victory, and the second, a dominating performance. “We want to be the team that will go and play on a blacktop. We don’t want adversity to be the reason we don’t succeed.”
The Griffons’ first game against the Riverhawks was tight. Just as expected, a pitching war between sophomore Jackie Bishop and Riverhawks starter Cayce Coleman occurred.
Through five innings, the score was deadlocked at one run apiece. After Kim Robinson reached second base off of JUCO transfer Kendall Sorensen’s sacrifice bunt, another transfer — Sarah Elliott — stepped to the plate and belted the ball. The shortstop blasted it over the scoreboard to run in two scores and take a 3-1 advantage.
No more runs were scored, as the Griffons took game one from the Riverhawks.
“Being able to come up with a big hit late in the game from Sarah Elliott,” Bagley said, “to have her power go over the fence, that was exciting.”
The second game didn’t bring as much excitement, save from one inning.
Western dominated Northeastern, ending much hope the Riverhawks had early with a 2-run lead in the first inning.
The Griffons scored seven runs in the top of the sixth to secure the 9-0 victory.
Maegan Roemmich singled to left, followed by Leah Steele’s base hit that advaned Roemmich to third. Roemmich stole home on the next bat.
The run marked the score 3-0, before Robinson, Sorensen and freshman Tiffany Gillaspy loaded the bases.
Again, Elliott provided a spark, as the junior doubled to right field, scoring Robinson and Gillaspy.
Blair Stalder’s single to center scored Elliott and Sorensen.
Eventually, Stalder and Erin Widgrig would add two more runs to complete the seven-run inning.
Before the two-game series was played in Talequah, Okla., the Griffons defeated Newman 8-1 — revenge from last season’s 4-3 loss the Griffons experienced.
The Griffons beat Southeastern Oklahoma State 7-3 and Texas Permian-Basin 12-2 to complete the three-game day.
Before the tournament even started, Western experienced its own trouble outside of the weather.
The Griffons were stranded in Joplin, Mo. for more than three hours because of vehicle problems, and didn’t arrive to the tournament until 3 a.m.
“For us to go and play on Friday, and do what we wanted to accomplish — and do it on three hours of sleep — we are very proud of the effort,” Bagley said. “To be able to deal with adversity and be able to overcome it rather than use it as our crutch, I think that was a big accomplishment on our part.”
Western, now sitting at 9-2, head to Bentonville, Ark., to play in the Arkansas-Monticello Tournament.
There, the Griffons meet up with Missouri-St. Louis, Southern Arkansas, North Alabama and Illinois-Springfield.
Also, Western has rematches against No. 12 Monticello and Southeastern Oklahoma State. The Griffons beat both teams. Its first home game is less than two weeks away, as the Griffons play a doubleheader against Quincy Tuesday, March 6.