Griffon softball did not get off to the start that they wanted.
Playing in the Alvy Early Memorial Classic in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Griffons took their first game against Southwest Baptist but fell short against Harding, Quincy and Arkansas-Monticello.
Playing double headers on Friday and Saturday, the opener on Friday saw the Griffons battle from being down 2-0. Having left nine players on base through four innings, the Griffons finally got runs on the board in the fifth inning with a little bit of help. Lauren Houston hit a sacrifice fly to bring Rachel Stewart in from third, but a throwing error allowed Taylor Hoelscher to score the tying run as well.
Hoelscher played hero again in the seventh inning, as she slapped a walk-off single to bring in Maddie Swanson and give Missouri Western its first win of the young season. Kelly Uthe pitched all seven innings, striking out six and allowing only one earned run.
The Griffons followed that up with another tight game against Harding. Missouri Western hit their first home run of the season, a three run shot by Emma Hoffart, to tie the game at four in the fifth inning.The tie did not last long, however. The Bison took the lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI double, and the Griffons fell 5-4. The Griffons left seven more runners on base.
The Griffons opened up Saturday against Quincy. A two-run double by Stewart gave the Griffons a 2-1 lead in the third, but it did not last long. The Hawks scored four in a row to take a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Missouri Western was able to trim the lead to 5-4 on a Hoffart single, but the comeback fell short, and the Griffons lost 5-4 for the second straight game.
The weekend capper against Arkansas-Monticello saw little offense, as both teams mustered only four hits. Only one inning saw any scoring, but it was not in Missouri Western’s favor. The Blossoms scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth, and they won the game 3-0.
Coach Jen Bagley Trotter admittedly expected to have more success on the weekend.
“I think at the end of the day the biggest deal was just execution,” Trotter said. “We stranded a gazillion runners this weekend.”
The Griffons will look to rebound this weekend as they hit the road again. The Griffons have six games in Topeka, Kansas, this weekend, taking on Maryville, Minnesota-Mankato, Minnesota-Duluth, Concordia, Wayne State and Sioux Falls.
Trotter wants to see her team focused on themselves and executing.
“The biggest thing we have to do is play us,” Trotter said. “If we put our pieces together and play the way we’re capable of playing, we’ll be alright.”