Hornets snap streak; take lead in MIAA

By Thomas Huitt-Johnson

March 26, 2012

Missouri Western saw an 11-game win steak snapped this past weekend.

The Griffons traveled to Emporia, Kan., to take on the Hornets. The two teams, both 8-0 in the conference, squared off in one of the more highly-anticipated games across the nation.

Western, who’s 2-10 at Trussler Sports Complex, looked to not only end that pattern, but move up even further in the NFCA top-25 poll and secure a couple victories over a winning team in the region. The Griffons couldn’t do any of these, despite a lump of hits.

“Although offensively, we were matching up our hits,” coach Jen Bagley said, “the difference being we had singles, and they had doubles and home runs. And so when they’re able to move the runners that many more times than we are that ends up giving them the advantage for sure.”

Western dropped the first game 5-2 in a game that she describes as they “felt out of sync.”

The Griffons found themselves in game two of the day. Still, one bad inning cost Western as it looked to take a win away from Emporia.

Ahead 2-0, Western gave up five runs in the fifth inning — two homers — to the Hornets to put itself in a hole. The Griffons couldn’t dig themselves out, as they were in too deep.

Western scored two runs in the final inning to pull within one, but couldn’t score the game-tying run as senior Blair Stalder was left stranded on third base when short stop Taylor Anding hit a line-drive down the third base and was called out. The Griffons lost 5-4.

“We gave ourselves a chance in the seventh inning by having a big rally,” Bagley said. “Taylor Anding came up and did everything she could do at her at-bat. She hit just a rocket to the left side of third base and the third baseman, still can’t believe she caught the ball, flew out and caught this scorcher.”

Even before that, the Griffons almost won.

Maegan Roemmich nearly belted out a grand slam as the ball hit near the top of the fence with the bases loaded. Because the Griffons didn’t know if the outfielder was going to make a play on the ball, the runners held up knowing that they could be thrown out.

After the ball missed on the home run, it bounced into playing field as the Griffons started to finish the play. Emporia tagged out Erin Widrig at second base, putting Western with runners at first and third, but with two outs. That’s when Anding stepped up to the plate.

Before Western’s two losses against its conference rival, Western defeated both Northwest Missouri State and Truman State four games to zero. The Griffons stand at 25-6 and have back-to-back double headers at home this weekend against Fort Hays State and Washburn.

Jackie Bishop is currently throwing a .138 ERA and Roemmich counters the pitching with a .392 batting average.

The Griffons are 8-2 in the conference, good for second place, but also good for two games behind Emporia. With the regional rankings right around the corner, Western may possibly host a regional a Griffon Spring Sports Complex, even further evidence that this season may end in a very successful way.

Still, the Griffons are dissatisfied at the way the way the two games ended at Emporia, knowing that if a few areas improved, or a few things went their way instead of the Hornets, that they could be in great position to win the conference title.

“We’re very disappointed,” Bagley said. “The first game was disappointing because we just did not do us very well. But then the second game was disappointing because we were so close to making sure we came across with at least a split.”