The Threshers spent an afternoon on the softball field Saturday, splitting a pair of games against their guests the Friends Falcons, 5-6 and 8-7.
The split pushes the Threshers record to 11-12 on the season.
The Threshers trailed early in game one, with all seemingly lost once the score hit 6-1 in the fifth inning. But the Threshers were not done. Two runs a piece in the sixth and seventh innings (highlighted by a two-run home run by Madison McDowell) brought the Threshers to within striking distance, but the comeback fell short 6-5.
Friends struck early with a four-run first inning. With only one out, Friends was able to load the bases and began chipping away with one-run RBIs. The Falcons batted completely through their order once, before Bethel replaced starting pitcher Raegan Beckley with Baileigh Rager. The Threshers were then able to get out of the inning, trailing 4-0.
Bethel was able to scratch out one run in the first inning. Jordan Hill led things off with a walk, and then took second after Hoffman's sacrifice bunt. McDowell then sent a single into left-center, placing it with enough time for Hill to sprint her way home for Bethel's first run.
Rager was able to turn in three innings of clean work, before a couple of big hits by Friends resulted in two more runs on the board in the fifth. Rager was replaced by Rylie Scudder and the Threshers got out of the inning now in a 6-1 defecit.
The Thresher bats began to come to life in the bottom of the sixth. After Katie Schrag reached on a walk, a pinch hit by Alyssa Sullivan gave the Falcons' second baseman fits and allowed Sullvan to get on. Jadin Kaltenbach came in as a pinch-runner for Sullivan and subsequently stole second with Schrag sitting on third after the previous error. Michelle Schrag singled into shallow right, scoring Katie Schrag. Two batters later, Jeni Reichenberger was able to hit a sac fly into center, bringing Kaltenbach home and making the score 6-3.
Scudder struck out two and got the final batter to fly out into center, giving Bethel one last shot at the comeback. After Hill popped out for the first out, Hoffman was able to get on by getting plunked by the Falcons' pitcher. McDowell swung for the fences on a 2-2 count, putting enough on it for her second homer of the season. Bethel couldn't find the final run needed to force extra innings, and they fell 6-5.
It was Bethel's turn to jump out to a huge 5-0 lead in Game 2, before mistakes and perserverance by the Falcons brought them back. Leisle Hoffman's record-tying 113th hit of her career brought in the go-ahead run, and Bethel clinched the 8-7 victory.
To open the game Jordan Hill reached on a single and was able to work her way around to third base with help by a Leisle Hoffman sac bunt. Madison McDowell and Katie Schrag were each able to reach base to load them up. After a runner's interference play involving Schrag, the bases stayed loaded as Alexis Wilsontook her place at first. The Falcons would go on to issue two-straight walks, advancing two Threshers to home-plate and scoring two runs. An ill-advised throw by the shortstop scored another run for Bethel, and the inning was finally capped off by a two-run single shot through the hole at short by Kerrigan Simons.
Bethel kept a 5-0 lead intact until the top of the third, when Friends was able to tack on two runs. McDowell kept her composure on the mound and lasted a total of four innings in the game, striking out two in the process. The Falcons tacked on two runs in the fifth to close Bethel's advantage, 5-4.
Bethel recaptured a bit of their momentum the next time they came to the plate. With McDowell on base, Katie Schrag laid down a sac bunt to move her to second. Heads-up base running by McDowell allowed her to streak for third base, setting up an insurance run. Michelle Schrag wound up smacking a triple into deep right-center, her fifth of her career.
A 6-4 disadvantage didn't discourage Friends any, as they found the chink in Bethel's armor. Three errors by the Thresher fielders in the sixth led to three more runs being scored by the Falcons. These three runs gave Friends a 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the sixth.
Jeni Reichenberger started things off for Bethel with a single and was then replaced on the basepaths by Cami Mills. Alyssa Sullivan advanced Mills to second on a well-placed sac bunt. Jadin Kaltenbach somehow wound up hitting the catcher's glove off her hand and farther than the ball, resulting in an interference call and giving Kaltenbach a free base. Leisle Hoffman would then come through with a hit into center field, bringing both base runners home.
Now with an 8-7 advantage, Bethel brought in closer Rylie Scudder to preserve the victory. Scudder struck out the first batter and baited the second into a fly-out, before sending the third and final batter back to the dugout with the strikeout.
Bethel is now 11-12 on the season and 2-2 in conference play. They travel up to Leavenworth for a double-header at the University of Saint Mary, beginning at 1 p.m. on March 27.