Softball team splits games with Braves

Junior Tara Heinrich lays down a bunt in practice Wednesday. The Wildcats are 1-1 on the season after splitting their first doubleheader with Ottawa University. BU will play in the Cowtown Classic Saturday and Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Junior Tara Heinrich lays down a bunt in practice Wednesday. The Wildcats are 1-1 on the season after splitting their first doubleheader with Ottawa University. BU will play in the Cowtown Classic Saturday and Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Pat Howell.

The Baker University softball team began its 2012 season Feb. 9 by splitting its doubleheader against Ottawa University.

The Wildcats were defeated 4-2 in game one, but came back to overthrow the Braves 8-2 in game two.

“I think we felt we probably could have won both games, but we just came out a little flat in the first game and had some errors that kind of put us in a hole,” head coach Matt Windle said.

In game one, junior Summer Kelley and sophomore Kayla Morse both went 3-7, and Kelley had two RBIs. Sophomore Erin Greenwood scored the Wildcats’ two runs. Sophomore Maggie Holmberg was the starting pitcher for BU and had five strikeouts in six innings and while giving up four runs.

In game two, Morse finished 3-4 with two RBIs, as well as a double in the third inning. Greenwood contributed two doubles, recorded nine strikeouts in seven innings and gave up just one run.

“The first couple innings were a little shaky coming out in the first game; getting the nerves out of the way,” senior Brooke Allen said. “But then after the first couple of innings, everything came around. Our hitting came around and so did our defense, and our intensity was amazing throughout the whole doubleheader.”

Next the Wildcats will travel to Fort Worth, Texas, Friday and Saturday for the Cowtown Classic. There, they will face teams including Northwood University, the University of Arts and Sciences of Oklahoma and No. 3 Oklahoma City University.

“It’ll be very tough competition,” junior Brittany Vollenweider said. “We’re playing some of the best teams in the nation. One of them is ranked third in the nation, and one’s seventh in the nation.”

BU will use the season opener as a learning experience and build off of what they saw against OU.

“We’ll definitely use what we struggled with (Saturday) and build off of how we played against Ottawa,” Vollenweider said. “I think we’ll just keep working on our fundamentals, and look at each game one at a time, and just go out and play like we know how.”

Although Windle said he saw a lack of focus in the team in the fall and early part of the spring, he believes the team is “finally intense and wanting to win.”

“In the first three games that we play (in Texas), I believe that we have every reason to believe that we can win at least two of those three,” Windle said. “There’s no reason to think that we can’t beat them. But, I don’t think anybody would expect us to beat them.”

The Wildcats were picked to finish third in the Heart of America Athletic Conference behind Central Methodist University and Evangel University.

The mild winter weather has allowed the Wildcats to practice outside more than in past years.

“Normally we don’t get outside until we go to our Texas tournament, … and that’s our first time being outside, but it’s crazy,” Allen said. “Our first practice, which was Jan. 16, we were outside practicing. It gets us more prepared for the beginning of our season, and with fielding groundballs and just being on the dirt.”

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