Bethel rallies to split twinbill
After getting pounded by rival Tabor in the first game of a KCAC doubleheader Wednesday night at Allen Wedel Field, the Bethel College softball team had to tighten up in all three phases of the game to salvage a split on senior night.
Bethel lost the first game 14-4 in five innings on the 10-run rule, but came back with a 5-4 win in the second game.
Amber Mott hit a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to put the Threshers in the lead for good.
“I just knew I had to do something to get the runners to score,” Mott said. “In my head, I had to see a ball and get a hit. Before that at-bat, I laid down a bunt to get runners around; and my first at-bat, I got out; so I knew I had to do something just to get runners on board for my team.
“It’s very challenging to flip that switch to get that mentality,” Mott said. “We had to light a fire under us.”
Pitcher Rachel Duer went six innings for the Threshers to get the win, allowing three earned runs on six hits with a strikeout.
“I think my curve was working for the most part,” said Duer, who improves to 4-2. “My screw(ball) was really good. I rely on my screw a lot. I was glad those two were working good back and forth.”
Duer had been throwing mostly relief this season. It was her second longest outing of the season.
“This year has been crazy for me,” Duer said. “I had a stomach disease I’ve been dealing with. My shoulder has kind of …, we don’t really know what’s wrong with it, so they have pushed me to finishing, so it won’t be hurting as much. We switched it tonight. You just have to go out, give your best for the team, your best for the coaches and give the glory to God and do the best you can. That was very good since it’s been a while since I’ve pitched that long. I was grateful for that. In the late innings, my shoulder was getting to me, but I trusted my teammates and did my job. I trusted my catcher to do what we needed to do.”
“It was tough. We strung some errors in that first game,” Bethel coach David Middleton said. “I knew we were better than that. I told the team, ‘You know you’re better than that. You know you can beat these guys. We’ll be fine.’”
After Tabor scored in the top of the first on a Rheanna Smith sacrifice fly, Bethel scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Laura Pineda, Emalee Overbay and Riley Johnson each hit an RBI single.
Courtney Bossman hit a two-run single in the top of the fourth for Tabor to tie the game.
After Bethel took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning,
Hannah Jones hit a solo home run for Tabor in the top of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, relief pitcher Skylar Jackson got a ground out; hit a batter, who was throw out trying to steal; and got a strikeout to end the game and earn the save.
Pineda finished the game two for three hitting.
Jones took the loss pitching in relief of Zoe Brewer, allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
“I told them we can’t wait,” Middleton said. “We had to come out swinging. We had to zone in on what kind of pitch you want. We can’t get behind too many pitches and give the advantage to the pitcher. You see that pitch, take it.”
In the first game, Tabor took an 8-0 lead after 1 1/2 innings. Bethel got back in the game with a run in the bottom of the second and three in the third. Tabor put the game away with six runs in the fourth inning.
Smith went two for three hitting for Tabor with four RBIs. Alyssa Martinez and Mary Yandell each drove in two runs.
Bailea Crist went two for three hitting for Bethel with two RBIs.
Marlee Baxter went the distance for Tabor, allowing four runs on five hts with two walks and six strikeouts. Riley Johnson took the loss for Bethel.
Tabor is 12-28, 8-12 in KCAC play for eighth place. Bethel is 9-25, 6-14 in KCAC play. Bethel moves into a three-way tie for ninth in the conference with four games remaining. The top eight advance to the KCAC post-season tournament.
Bethel faces the top two teams in the conference in its remaining games — 1 p.m. Saturday at 25th-ranked (NAIA) Ottawa and 2 p.m. April 27 at Bethany.
“We’re going to try and do our best,” Mott said. “It will be see ball, hit ball. That’s something we need to work on. As long as we hit, we’re going to have a good shot.”
“It’s going to be tough,” Middleton said. “We have Ottawa at Ottawa and Bethany at Bethany. With this team, with the boost we just got, I think we’ll be alright. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Baxter (W, 5-8) and Smith; Johnson (L, 2-11), McMichael and Overbay. Time — 1:22.
Brewer, Jones (L, 0-6) 2 and Martinez; Duer (W, 4-2), Jackson (S, 1) 7 and Overbay. HR — T: Jones (1). Time — 1:29.
Mark Schnabel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org