LINDSBORG – The Kansas Wesleyan softball team showed a ton of resilience in its First Bank Kansas Smoky Hill Showdown doubleheader with the Bethany Swedes at Bethany’s softball field.
In the first game, the Coyotes rallied in the top of the seventh, and fought off three Bethany rallies before blowing the game open for a 14-9 win in 10 innings. In the second game, the Coyotes rallied from a 7-1 deficit to tie the game 7-7 in the sixth inning, only to see Bethany score twice in the bottom of the sixth to hold on for a 9-7 win.
The split between the teams also splits the two available points in the First Bank Kansas Smoky Hill Showdown series, which the Coyotes now lead 24-14 with five events remaining. KWU cannot lose the Showdown, but it is still possible for a tie.
In the opener, the Coyotes had to overcome nine fielding errors, but were able to come away with the win.
Wesleyan trailed Bethany 4-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning, and got a double by Tara Stubits (SO/Topeka, Kan.) to start a rally as Kirsten Redfern (FR/Keller, Texas) singled to drive in the first run of the inning and an error by Bethany allowed the game-tying run to score. The Coyotes were able to hold Bethany off the board in the bottom of the inning, forcing extra sessions.
The Coyotes would score twice in the top of the eighth, as International Tie Breaker runner Samantha Banda (SO/Houston, Texas) and Alyssa Garza (JR/San Antonio, Texas) would score on Anna Grace Williams (FR/Crandall, Texas)’ 2-run double in the inning. Unfortunately for the Coyotes in the bottom of the eighth, the error bug would come out as Bethany capitalized on two Wesleyan miscues to tie the game and force the ninth inning.
Wesleyan scored twice in the top of the ninth as Redfern was the ITB runner and then three batters later, with two outs, Banda homered, a 2-run shot again putting the Coyotes up by a pair. Bethany would tie things up in the bottom of the ninth before Wesleyan’s big inning in the tenth.
Sierra Martinez (SO/Manteca, Calif.) was the ITB runner in the tenth and after a walk to Taylor Lenggenhager (JR/Austin, Texas), Redfern sent a ball over the fence in left for a 3-run homer putting the Coyotes up 11-8. Walks to Taylor LaGrange (SR/Mont Belvieu, Texas) and Banda and Garza was hit by a pitch to load the bases set up a 3-run double by Williams that put the game out of reach in favor of the Coyotes.
Wesleyan took an early 1-0 lead on a homer by Lenggenhager in the second inning, but Bethany capitalized on three KWU errors in the third to take a 3-1 lead. A homer by Stubits in the fifth got the Coyotes within a run before Bethany scored in the bottom of the sixth to set up the wild finish.
Stubits tossed 7 and 2-thirds innings of relief in the circle, picking up the win, striking out four, allowing six runs (two earned) on nine hits. Williams had three hits and drove in five, Redfern also had three hits and drove in four.
Errors again proved to be a bugaboo for the Coyotes in the second game. Two Wesleyan errors in the bottom of the first inning fueled a 6-run outburst by the Swedes to start things off.
The resilient Coyotes battled back again, getting a run in the third on a double by Martinez to get on the board.
Bethany got a run in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Coyotes had an answer.
Garza led off the Coyote fifth with a double and Martinez would connect on a 2-run homer to get the Coyotes within a 7-3 margin.
Wesleyan’s rally continued in the sixth as Redfern led off with a double and scored on Delayna DeMarte’s single. Banda doubled to score a run and later scored on a passed ball and Williams would tie the game with a RBI ground out.
Bethany would take advantage of two KWU errors in the bottom of the sixth to take a 9-7 lead.
The Coyotes could not find the same magic of the first game for a rally, falling to the Swedes 9-7.
Martinez drove in three runs on two hits for the Coyotes, while DeMarte and Garza also had two hits. Williams took the loss in the circle, tossing 5 and 2-thirds innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits.
The Coyotes are next scheduled to take on McPherson on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bill Burke Park. McPherson is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll.