The Griffons showed true talent in Tuesday’s doubleheader against rival Bearcats.
Game one kicked off at 2 p.m. Janie Smith was in the circle for Missouri Western.
The front end of the doubleheader was a pitcher’s duel. Western’s Smith was throwing lights out, but so was Northwest’s Sarah Baldwin.
Both pitched the full game, but Smith just narrowly out-pitched Baldwin.
In the bottom of the second inning, shortstop Shelbie Atwell doubled to right and scored first baseman Kailey Green. That RBI-double gave the Griffons a 1-0 lead that they would hold for the remainder of the game.
Smith allowed three hits with no runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
Head coach Jen Bagley-Trotter is seeing more confidence and development in her team.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, but I think the fact that our defense is handling the ball better has been helping our pitchers handle the ball better,” Bagley-Trotter said. “So, I just feel like, pitching aside, our team as a whole is really starting to find itself and embrace helping each other out.”
The Griffons had six hits and one run, but also had a fielding error when third baseman Katie Klosterman fumbled the ball and couldn’t gain control in time to throw out the runner.
Game two was a commanding offensive performance for Western.
Shyanne Saladino took over in the circle for the second game.
Center fielder Morgan Rathmann opened up the bottom of the first inning with a triple to deep center. She was able to score on a wild pitch, putting the Griffons on the board early on.
In the bottom of the third inning, Western still held their 1-0 lead. With second baseman Tiffany Gillaspy up to bat, she cracked one to deep left center. Her seventh home run of the season would score Rathmann and right fielder Brooke Schaben.
“I thought [Monday] I obviously did really good,” Gillaspy said. “So, I came in today with some confidence… I was seeing the ball really well in the second game, so I think it was more of a confidence booster.”
The 3-RBI homer would give the Griffons a 4-0 lead going into the fourth inning.
But, with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, the Bearcats drove in two with a double to right center from shortstop Rebecca Maher.
It appeared as if the Bearcats could still fight for a comeback, but no such thing was going to happen.
Right fielder Sydnie Washington scored catcher Rebekah Mueller with an RBI-double in the bottom of the fifth.
Designated hitter Paige Shifflett came in for the next to crack a homer to left center. The 2-RBI home run would make it a 7-2 lead for Western.
They would hold that score to finish the back end of the doubleheader.
“We were seeing the ball kind of big yet from yesterday,” Bagley-Trotter said. “So, it took us a little bit to kind of get into our groove and realizing that we’re going to be facing pitchers that are going to hit corners and be selective. It just took a little bit for us to re-engage into that kind of softball.”
Saladino pitched a complete game with three hits, two runs, two errors, two walks and one strikeout.
Western held on for the sweep of rival Northwest, extending their win streak to six games.
They are now 15-9 overall and 6-2 in MIAA play.
Western readies to play three doubleheaders this weekend as they host the 2015 Apple Market Classic. First pitch for game one of six is set for 10 a.m. on Friday, March 20.