After a very up-and-down regular season, Western softball brought their regular season to a close this weekend with two series on the road against tough conference opponents.
Western opened the weekend on Friday, traveling to take on the Ichabods of Washburn University. Washburn entered the series with a conference record of 21-3 and a comfortable lead atop the MIAA standings. Western was able to strike first in this one, scoring two in the top of the second inning courtesy of a gabi Carter home run, and stay ahead en route to a massive 7-4 victory. In the circle, sophomore Kenzie Hilzer (12-12) earned the complete game victory while striking out three. At the plate, sophomore Morgan Frost went 2-4 with four RBIs including a grand slam.
Washburn was able to edge out Western in the second game by the score of 5-4. On the day, Frost was 3-6 with four RBIs, while junior Tamara Hicks went went 2-4 with two doubles, two walks and two stolen bases.
On Saturday, Western traveled to take on Emporia State in their final regular season series. The Hornets stuck it to Western in both games, taking both by a combined score of 11-1. Emporia needed to win both games just to qualify for the conference tournament, and they played like a team that was literally fighting for their life. With the series sweep, Emporia earned the 8th and final seed in the conference tournament. Western earned the 6th seed and will take on Northwest Missouri State University in the first round.
This year’s senior class is one of the most decorated classes ever to step on the field here at Missouri Western. The four seniors – Riley Wilson, Barb Billingsley, Shelbie Atwell and Rebekah Mueller – have combine for 141 wins over their careers here. They were also part of 2016 MIAA regular season and postseason championship teams, advancing to the NCAA Central Region Championships in each of the last three seasons. The 2018 seniors have forever left their mark on Missouri Western. With the end of the regular season comes a chance for the seniors to take a step back and reflect on their time here at Western and what they were able to accomplish together.
“These past two years have flown by. “I’m lucky to have been on a team that welcomed me with open arms and I’ve cherished every second of it. I’ve made friendships and memories at Missouri Western that will last a lifetime.” – Barb Billingsley
“During my four years here at MWSU, I have met friends and have made memories that will last a lifetime. I am so honored to be a part of an athletic program that is so successful. My time here has also helped me figure out more of who I am as a person and taught me great life lessons along the way. I am beyond grateful for this experience.” – Shelbie Atwell
“I can honestly say that these 4 years have been the best of my life. Everyone here is like family to me, and I have met people that are going to be a part of my life for the rest of my life. I am really proud of our senior class for the way we have worked over our 4 years. We came in not really knowing what to expect, and we have put in an immense amount of work to achieve what we have.” – Riley Wilson
“ I can say my time at Missouri Western has been more than I ever wanted. This sport gave me more than a team, it gave me a family that I will never forget. I have never been more proud to be part of a program. It will always be something I carry with me. And when this season comes to an end, it will break my heart a little, but only because I was able to be a part of these amazing accomplishments; no one ever wants that to end. I have learned and grown so much through these four years, that I will take into my future career as a teacher. I will always be a Griff.” – Rebekah Mueller