SOFTBALL: Lady Tops open season with six game win streak

Wes Watt

It didn’t take long for sophomore shortstop Bailey Rolfs to make her presence felt on the field.

With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Rolfs headed to the plate with the bases loaded against Villanova last Friday in the first game of the Sonic Challenge in Chattanooga, Tenn. Rolfs knew she had an opportunity softball players dream of.

And she didn’t waste it.

Rolfs ripped a three-run double that gave the Lady Toppers a 4-1 lead they would not relinquish. This helped spark the team to its best start ever with a 6-0 record to close out the weekend.

“I was just really focused on the situation,” Rolfs said. “It was good for the team.”

The team closed out Friday with a 5-2 win over Virginia, then took its momentum to Saturday, disposing of Miami, Ohio 3-1.

Sophomore Natasha Sevco pitched a career game, holding a no-hitter through four innings before finally giving up a hit.

But Sevco only gave up three total hits and one run in route to her first collegiate win.

“I am extremely proud of her,” coach Leslie Phelan said. “It was far and away her best pitching of her career. It was extremely important for her to have a game to gain confidence.”

A great Friday was carried over to the first game of a double-header on Saturday and it may have looked like the Lady Toppers would go almost uncontested in the tournament.

But then they hit a wall.

The Purdue Boilermakers had stacked a wall that was four runs high. But there to knock it down was the one-two punch of fifth-year senior outfielder Jessie Richardson and junior shortstop Shelly Floyd. The tandem combined for five RBI to help overcome the deficit.

After giving up four runs in three innings, senior pitcher Allison Silver was taken out of the game and replaced by junior Ashley Schwartz, who pitched four innings, and sophomore Adrienne Lathrop, who was brought in to get the last out of the game to seal the Lady Toppers’ comeback with a 6-5 victory.

“It’s a game in the future we can look back on and get confidence,” Phelan said. “It can teach us to play the game and not look at the scoreboard.”

The Lady Toppers took care of business on Sunday and finished the tournament strong by pounding Samford 5-1 and beating Dayton 4-2.

The team takes its 6-0 record and travels to Louisville for the Red and Black Tournament. Western will open the tournament at noon on Saturday against Iowa.

Reach Wes Watt at [email protected]