SOFTBALL: Rolfs leads Western in both win and loss

Wes Watt

For the most part, farm animals have little to do with Western’s softball team.

After spending extra time working on “chicken wing” mechanics, sophomore shortstop Bailey Rolfs worked through some hitting problems, which finally paid off this weekend as Western (22-9) split a double-header against Evansville on Thursday.

Rolfs contributed to three of the five total runs scored in the contests. With one of those runs being the game winning RBI in a 3-2 win in the first game. The other two came from a two-run home run Rolfs blasted as the team’s only hit in a 3-2 defeat in the second game.

“I was really focused,” Rolfs said. “I wanted to prove myself.”

Rolfs referred to her mechanical problem as a “chicken wing” because the malfunction in her swing was caused from her back arm coming up too much in her stance. Thus forming a chicken wing shape.

Coach Leslie Phelan said her winged shortstop has been spending countless time working on the problem. And her performance this weekend was just the payoff from hard work.

After knocking in an insurance RBI to take a 3-1 lead in the first game, Rolfs was able to keep her momentum going into the second game.

Rolfs provided the team’s only hit in the second game defeat against the Aces. After falling behind 2-0 in the fifth inning, Rolfs blasted the ball out of the diamond’s aerospace to tie the game at two.

Although the two-run shot was enough to send the game into extra innings, it was not enough to pull out a victory. In the bottom of the ninth, Evansville was able to drive in a run to end the game with a one run victory.

Although the chance of KFC’s endorsement deal has deteriorated, the Lady Toppers will be glad to add Rolfs to their list of consistent hitters.

The team is coming off several sub-par performances from over the break. The team struggled to bust out with only six hits in two games against Evansville. Phelan said the offensive performance problems suffered over the break were due to great pitching and a lack of mental toughness.

But Western was only able to get one hit in seven innings against the third-string pitcher in the second game. And Phelan said she didn’t know what the problem was.

“I thought it was us,” Phelan said. “I don’t have any answers on why we didn’t hit her.”

The weather may have played a factor. Rolfs said the temperature was cold and because they were used to the warm weather, it may have played a role. But Rolfs said weather can’t be a copout.

“I think we were teased with the warm weather,” Rolfs said. “But weather can only be an excuse.”

Western will host Louisville in a double-header at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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