Softball splits with Hastings in home opener

Kansas Wesleyan softball played its home opener on Sunday, hosting the Hastings College Broncos at Salina South High School. The Coyotes would earn a split in the doubleheader, winning the second game 5-4 after Hastings won the first 4-3.


Continued construction at the South fields made things interesting for fans and staff alike. With the area behind home plate closed due to the construction of new grand stands, and a new concessions and restroom building, fans were relegated to seating behind the outfield fence. Teams and game staff were required to enter from a single point, and game staff was positioned between the KWU dugout and bullpen down the first base line.


The second game went in favor of the Coyotes, but not without excitement.


KWU led 5-2 heading to the sixth when Hastings got a 2-run homer by Katyn Kappler to get within a run at 5-4. The Coyotes had a chance to get an insurance run in the bottom of the frame when Anne Thibert (JR/Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) reached on a bunt single and moved to second on Josie Buhr (JR/Buffalo, N.D.)’s sacrifice bunt, but the Coyotes could not push the run across.


Reliever Miranda Fogal (JR/Monticello, Ill.) got three quick outs to close out the game and earn the save.


Hastings took a 1-0 lead after a triple and sacrifice fly in the first, but the Coyotes tied things up in the second on Jocelyn Alcala (JR/Fullerton, Calif.)’s solo homer. Bailey Rivas (SR/La Puente, Calif.) singled in the fourth and two batters later, Thibert homered to right field, bouncing the ball off the top of the fence and over giving the Coyotes the lead 3-1.


Hastings drew within a run in the fifth taking advantage of an error in the inning, but the Coyotes put together a little 2-out rally in the bottom of the inning.


Mia Hernandez (SO/Hanford, Calif.) doubled to start the rally and Alcala followed with a single that allowed pinch runner Olleivia Lowe to score. Sarah Sanders (JR/Hillsboro, Texas) reached on an error and Rivas drove in the second run of the frame with a single up the middle to score Alcala.


Rivas had three of KWU’s nine hits in the game, while Alcala and Thibert drove in two runs each. Jewell Henry (SR/Kingston, Okla.) got the win in the circle going four and a third allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out two. Fogal went the rest of the way, allowing two runs on a hit with a walk and two strikeouts.


In the opener, both teams scored twice in the first inning. Hastings took advantage of an error to plate a pair of runs, but the Coyotes answered right back.


The Coyotes loaded the bases and Rivas drove in the first run, reaching on a fielder’s choice that did not produce an out. Destiny Hackney (SO/Thornton, Colo.) drove in the second run with a ground out.


Hastings took the lead in the fourth with a run, and it looked like the Coyotes had a chance to tie in the bottom of the inning when Buhr doubled and Alcala walked, but could not get the run across.


Hernandez tried to start another late inning 2-out rally in the bottom of the seventh, hitting her first homer of the season, but KWU could not find the game-tying run.


Buhr had two of KWU’s four hits in the game. Starter Natalie Zamora (SO/Houston, Texas) went four innings, allowing three runs, one earned on five hits with two strikeouts. Fogal went the rest of the way, allowing a run on three hits.


Wesleyan plays at home again on Wednesday, hosting Cottey College in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. at Salina South.