Leah Steele stepped up to the plate in the top of the seventh with her team down by two runs against Pittsburg State.
The senior singled to left field to give the Griffons a needed runner on base. Catcher Kat Steponovich doubled on the next at-bat, running Steele in for the score, putting the Griffons down just one run. Two batters later, Steponovich found herself at third base, but Missouri Western faced two outs.
Junior transfer Kendall Sorensen stepped up to plate to face the pressure of the game-tying hit. She singled.
Steponovich scored on the single to left field and Western tied the game up at two runs to send the game into extra innings Friday night at Pittsburg, Kan. It took the Griffons over six innings to finally put runs on the board, but after they did, they secured the victory.
“It’s like every inning that went by, I kept looking at the score, looking at the inning, looking at the score, looking at the inning and it just seemed like we couldn’t get our wheels turning in the same direction,” coach Jen Bagley said. “To then end up in the seventh inning in a position to tie the ball game and then to be able to win it in the eight, that was an exciting win although that’ not the kind of excitement that you like to have, just because it makes for a really uncomfortable seven innings.”
In the top of the eighth, Michelle Stevenson singled to shortstop to provide a spark off the bench for the Griffons. Stevenson, who normally pinch runs for the Black and Gold, had a rare opportunity at bat, but took advantage of it.
The sophomore moved to second base off of a sacrifice bunt by Maegan Roemmich. After Taylor Anding grounded out, senior Leah Steele again provided a hit for the Griffons, as her single t right field drew in Stevenson, giving her the game-leading RBI.
Jackie Bishop cleaned up in the bottom of the eighth the same way she cleaned up the bottom of the seventh — three up, three down — all strikes to give the Griffons the two-game sweep of the previously conference-undefeated Gorillas 3-2. The Griffons won the first game 5-0.
Bishop relieved pitcher Emily Moe who replaced starter Annalee Rubio in the dog fight against the Gorillas.
“To be able to come from behind like that and get the win,” Bagley said, “and then end up getting the sweep, that was pretty exciting and that felt good getting on the bus.”
Friday night was just one of two glamorous victories the team had over the weekend.
Saturday night, after two rain delays and an hour long wait after two innings, the Griffons downed Missouri Southern 11-0 in just five innings. But Western wasn’t finished yet.
In game two, neither team could deliver much in the lately-tested contest. With a game start time at roughly 8 p.m. due to the weather, neither the Griffons nor the Lions could draw in any runs.
At the top of the seventh, Southern made a mistake on defense that cost the Lions the game.
After both Anding and Steele were out, Steponovich was walked, putting the lone body on first base. Third baseman Sarah Elliott was hit by a pitch shortly after, advancing Steponovich to second.
Freshman Bre Flecshner advanced to first on a fielder’s choice, but during the play the second baseman muffed the throw, resulting in an error that put Elliott on second and allowed Steponovich to move to third and keeping the inning alive.
Just like the night before, Sorensen stepped up to plate to help the Griffons. After over 10 pitches and a full-count, the pitcher threw a fast ball to the outside, and Sorensen didn’t flinch, as the center fielder was walked, moving all the runners one base and scoring Steponovich. Western won 1-0 to complete four wins in two days.
“I don’t want them to get to the point where they think they cant turn it on whenever and then turn it off whenever, because that inconistancy’s going to end up biting you,” Bagley said.
That was all Western needed to move to second place in the MIAA with a 16-2 record. The Griffons take on Lincoln Saturday at Griffon Springs Sports Complex and futrue MIAAer Lindenwood Sunday in a pair of double headers to end the home slate of the Griffons softball season.
A lot of softball is still on the schedule, however, as the Griffons play a pair of doubleheader the following weekend in Oklahoma before playing in the MIAA tournament Apr. 26-28 in Kansas City. After that, the Griffons should make a likely appearance in the post-season for the sixth time in the past eight seasons.