SOFTBALL: One strike too many

Wes Watt

Western’s softball team was one strike away from winning the second game of the team’s double-header against Louisville on Wednesday night.

But one strike proved to be too many.

With Western up 4-2 in the top of the seventh, junior Cardinals outfielder Sara Bausher was at the plate, down 1-2 in the count. Sophomore pitcher Adrienne Lathrop gave what she hoped would be the final strike of the game.

But with the next swing of the bat, Bausher sent the ball sailing over the left field wall with two on base, to take a 5-4 lead the Cardinals would not relinquish.

“I don’t even know what to say about it,” Lathrop said. “We were trying to get her inside and I guess she was looking for it.”

The game had a playoff-like atmosphere, with three lead changes and one tie in the last three innings.

“This might have been the most exciting in that sense,” Louisville coach Sandy Pearsall said. “Because I don’t know if we have had so many lead changes in a game. This might have been the first time we’ve had that. I think that made it very exciting for all of us, very nerve racking.”

But Western coach Leslie Phelan said the two-game series was far from a playoff like atmosphere.

“We will continue to look at our Wednesday mid-week games as a tune up for the weekend and conference play,” Phelan said. “I told them at the beginning of the game I didn’t care what happened, as long as we got better. I definitely don’t think that happened.”

The Lady Toppers had only four hits in the game, with two of them coming from junior third baseman Dana Rey.

After a two-week absence because of injury, Rey spent some time working on some adjustments which paid off last night.

“She swung well today,” Phelan said. “We’ve made some adjustments. She’s taking a better swing and hopefully she’ll continue to get better.

Phelan said Western’s hitting and pitching needs to be corrected, especially going into conference play.

Western’s luck wasn’t any better in the first game. After senior pitcher Allison Silver pitched five innings, holding the Cardinals to just five hits and two runs, sophomore Ashley Schwartz came in for relief.

But relief for the Cardinals is not something Schwartz had in mind.

“Ashley pretty much lost confidence,” Phelan said. “Therefore her pitches weren’t moving and wasn’t confident throwing certain pitches. You can’t throw the same pitches against good hitters.”

In less than one inning Schwartz gave up six hits and six runs. Lathrop was called in to get the final out of the inning.

Western will open conference play at 3 p.m. Friday at home against Middle Tennessee State.

Reach Wes Watt at [email protected]