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Hospice of Salina

KWU Softball Claims KCAC Title

KSAL Sports - April 23, 2014 7:57 am

The Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes knew what they had to do on Tuesday against the Southwestern Moundbuilders if Wesleyan wanted to secure its first KCAC Championship in softball since the 2007 season. The Coyotes got it done, sweeping the ‘Builders 3-0 and 10-2, giving Wesleyan its first KCAC Softball Championship since 2007 at Bill Burke Park.

In 2007, Wesleyan was tri-champions of the conference with Friends and Ottawa, even though the Coyotes played two less games due to a series rainout against Sterling. Conference officials still awarded a share of the title that season to the Coyotes.

Fast forward back to 2014, as the Coyotes got a little help from archrival Bethany as the Swedes swept the Ottawa Braves in Ottawa giving Wesleyan its first outright conference championship since 1998. Ottawa and Wesleyan were tied in the conference standings heading into Tuesday’s action.

In the opener Wesleyan scored twice in the second and once in the fifth and held Southwestern to just two hits in a 3-0 win. A ground rule RBI double by Rachel Rheaume (SO/Riley, Kan.) plated the first run for the Coyotes and Reanna Guzman(JR/Lakewood, Calif.)’s squeeze bunt would yield the second run of the day for the Coyotes.

Meanwhile starting pitcher Daria Leid (SR/Carson City, Nev.) was cruising, holding Southwestern without a hit until the sixth inning. Wesleyan added one more run in the fifth on Kimberly Patterson (SO/Hutchinson, Kan.)’s RBI double that scored her sister Stephanie.

Leid went the distance for the win, allowing just the two hits with five strikeouts and a walk for her second straight shutout, following Saturday’s no-hitter against Bethel. Five different Coyotes had a hit in the game.

A 6-run second inning for the Coyotes blew open a 1-0 game as Wesleyan cruised to a run-rule shortened 10-2 win in the nightcap. The Coyotes took an early 1-0 lead in the first on Lauren Szoboscan (JR/Rancho Cordova, Calif.)’s RBI single that scored Hannah Bapst (SR/Phoenix, Ariz.) who led off the frame with a single.

Rheaume led off the second inning for the Coyotes with a homer, and Wesleyan would score five more times, all with two outs to blow the game wide open. Noelle Skanderson (SR/Rohnert Park, Calif.) had a RBI single in the inning and an error on the play would yield a second run. After a pitching change by Southwestern, Szoboscan stepped up and crushed the first pitch she saw out to left center for a 3-run homer putting the Coyotes ahead 7-0.

Southwestern scored twice in the top of the fourth on a 2-run homer by Paige Rothwell, but the Coyotes had an answer in the bottom of the inning. Wesleyan’s first run scored thanks to a Southwestern error in the field and Skanderson would drive in the second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly and Szoboscan drove in her fifth run of the game when she reached on an error withKimberly Patterson at third.

Hannah Holt (JR/Shawnee, Kan.) would pitch the fifth inning for the Coyotes and she would strike out two of the batters she faced in the inning, including striking out Devan Howard looking to end the game on the run-rule.

Wesleyan only needed seven hits to score its ten runs, as Bapst and Szoboscan had two hits each and Szoboscan drove in five runs in the game. Freshman Taylor Heins (FR/Americus, Kan.) improved to 14-1 on the season with the victory, throwing four innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out six. Holt allowed one hit and struck out two in her inning of work.

Wesleyan will be the No. 1 seed in the KCAC Tournament which starts on May 1 at the Great Bend Sports Complex in Great Bend. The Coyotes could end up seeing the same Southwestern team in the first round of the tournament as the ‘Builders are the projected No. 8 seed in the tournament.