After a delayed start, the Puget Sound women’s softball team fell 10-0 to the visiting Willamette Bearcats. The loss was their nineteenth straight defeat, with 13 of the losses coming from Northwest Conference play. The Loggers fell to a 2-21 record while the Bearcats, currently ranked third in the NWC, improved to 14-8.
Alex Watilo was able to limit the Loggers to two hits in the five-inning game, outdueling senior Puget Sound pitcher Elayna Van Hess (Aumsville, Ore.).
“She is one of the best pitchers in the conference,” Loggers head coach Jennifer Peterson said of Watilo. The Bearcats senior finished the day with four strikeouts.
Despite the 10 runs Willamette scored, Peterson and senior catcher Chrissy Atterson (Marysville, Wash.) felt that Van Hess had pitched admirably given the rainy conditions.
“Elayna pitched really well today; she battled through the rain,” Atterson said.
“She kept their big hitters at bay,” Peterson said, “Softball is a weird game like that. You can hit a ball hard right at somebody and get out then mishit a ball that falls in the gap.” Van Hess gave up just six hits, but three Logger errors proved costly.
The Loggers committed two of those errors at the top of the fifth inning. The Bearcats capitalized on those mistakes, pouring in six runs in the fifth to put them in position to end the game with the 10 run rule. Susie Krewer provided three of the runs on a triple that landed just fair in right field, clearing the loaded bases.
The Loggers were able to get some momentum going into the bottom half of the fifth, facing relief pitcher Savannah Pingree. Van Hess led off with a walk and later advanced on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Bearcats brought Watilo back in to close out the game, who successfully managed to keep the Loggers from pushing the game into a sixth inning.
“It was a smart move; the last thing you want to do is extend [a game],” Peterson said. Although there was supposed to be a second game, the rain was deemed too heavy, and the game will be rescheduled for a later date.
Weather permitting, the Loggers were set to play host to Linfield on Monday. Although Linfield has recently been ranked number one in the nation, Peterson and Atterson remain hopeful the Loggers will find some success.
“We’re staying up, we’re coming at every game trying to win it. We just need to break through, but we’re staying up better than you might think,” Atterson said.
In order to find that success, it appears that the Loggers will need to clean up the defense and bring runners around, the two things that evaded the Loggers all afternoon. Peterson chalked up some of the defensive issues to the loss of sophomore pitcher Jenny Davis prior to the season. “We have lots of kids learning new positions,” Peterson said.
PHOTO COURTESY/DAVID PENDLETON