William Penn Succumbs Twice in Tight Contests
Kansas City, Mo.–The Statesmen softball team put itself in position to take a big doubleheader sweep Friday, but was denied late both times as it was by Avila in Heart of America Athletic Conference action.
WPU (18-21, 6-14 Heart) lost by scores of 3-2 and 2-0. There is no time for reflection, though, as the Statesmen travel to Olathe, Kan. Saturday to face MidAmerica Nazarene in another Heart double dip at 1 p.m.
The visitors were firing on all cylinders to start the day. Michelle Castro (Fr., Acampo, Calif., Business Management) started with a lead-off single and moved all the way to third on a passed ball. The freshman then put the navy and gold up 1-0 right away by scoring on a single by Kodee Johnson (Sr., Stockton, Calif., General Mathematics) in the next at-bat.
Unfortunately, William Penn immediately went cold, not recording its next baserunner until a sixth-inning hit.
The Eagles (26-16, 17-9 Heart) took advantage of WPU’s offense struggles, answering with two runs in the second. The home team extended its lead to 3-1 with a home run in the sixth that chased Chyanne Koko (Jr., Waianae, Hawaii, Physical Education) from the game. The junior more than held her own, striking out five with one walk.
Koko was relieved by Brittany Ensley (Fr., Harrisburg, Ore., Exercise Science) who retired all three batters she faced to keep the Statesmen within striking distance entering the final inning.
With its back against the wall, WPU responded just like it did to open the contest. Jenny Navarro (Jr., Bellflower, Calif.) and Emily Brown (Jr., Waverly, Iowa, Biology) each singled and Kacey Lutz (Jr., Lodi, Calif., Business Management) walked to load the bases with no outs.
Casey Tamanaha (Fr., Pamona, Calif., Sociology) pulled her squad within one with a one-out, pinch-hit one-bagger to plate Navarro. The Statesmen stranded the tying run 60 feet away, however, by popping out in consecutive at-bats to end the game.
Both sides finished the opener with six hits.
Avila scored once in the first inning of the nightcap and once more in the second and rode those two tallies to victory as William Penn was yet again stymied at the dish. The visitors were unable to get their first runner in scoring position until the sixth.
The Statesmen again played the part of almost-cardiac kids Friday, starting a two-out rally that eventually landed a navy and gold player on all three bases. Jarrah Jensen (Sr., Blakesburg, Iowa, Physical Education) had a single, Lutz walked, and Brown had another single, but unfortunately the comeback stalled with the tying run in scoring position.
Johnson and Jensen both ended up 2-for-3, while William Penn actually owned a 6-5 edge in base knocks.
Tabitha Scott (So., Placentia, Calif., Psychology) settled in after a rocky start and continued her dominance on the rubber. The sophomore, who only permitted two baserunners (both hits) after the second frame, managed one strikeout against two walks.