McPHERSON, Kan. – The Southwestern College softball team went 1-4 in its final tournament of the 2015 season. The Lady Builders defeated AIB College of Business, but fell to Morningside, Avila, Benedictine and Graceland at the McPherson Tournament, which concluded Saturday at Wall Park in McPherson, Kan.
Game 1 – (RV) Morningside 4, Southwestern 3
The Lady Builders held their own against Morningside (7-3), which was receiving votes in the latest NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll. The Mustangs plated a second-inning run, and added two more in the third frame to take a 3-0 lead after three innings.
Southwestern (2-10) responded in the fourth inning. Audrey Vorderlandwehr laced a one-out single to right field. Allison Flinn replaced Vorderlandwehr on the base path, and moved to second when Alejandro Palacios singled through the right side, but the statement of the inning came off the bat of Maecy Charleston. The transfer senior blasted a home run over the right-field fence, and tied the game at 3-3 with three innings remaining.
Morningside plated the decisive run in the fifth, and the Lady Builders couldn't respond. Southwestern managed just one hit over the final two innings, and the Mustangs walked away with the 4-3 victory.
Game 2 – Avila 8, Southwestern 3
A tied ball game turned ugly quickly for the Lady Builders. Avila (10-3) plated seven runs in a span of three innings to turn a 1-1 deadlock into an 8-3 Eagle victory.
Alejandra Palacios put Southwestern (2-11) on the board first with a one-out, second-inning solo bomb over the center-field fence, but Avila took advantage of a pair of Lady Builder errors to tie the game at 1-1 heading to the third inning.
Southwestern took the lead once again in the fourth inning. Peyton Timmerman opened the inning with a double to right, then scored on Audrey Vorderlandwehr's single to center field. An Avila double-play ended the inning, but the Lady Builders held a 2-1 lead.
Avila responded with a pair of fourth-inning runs to take a 3-2 edge into the fifth inning. The Lady Builders countered with the game-tying run when Maecy Charleston singled up the middle, then scored when Remington Samuels singled to center, but the Eagles countered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, and two more in the sixth to take the 8-3 win.
Game 3 – Southwestern 2, AIB 1
Southwestern (3-11) scored a pair of runs early, and rode senior ace Rachel Baker to a 2-1 victory in Friday's final game of the day.
With two outs in the opening inning, Remington Samuels singled up the middle. Megan Walentynowicz followed with a single through the left side. Alejandra Palacios added another single, this time to left-center, and allowed Samuels to score, while Walentynowicz scored on Audrey Vorderlandwehr's single up the middle. Maecy Charleston grounded out to end the inning, but the Lady Builders held a 2-0 lead.
AIB (1-13) scored its only run in the top of the second inning, and did so via the two-out long ball, but that was all the Eagles could muster. Rachel Baker allowed just five hits, and struck-out five AIB batters while allowing just one run in the Southwestern win.
Game 4 – Benedictine 9, Southwestern 3
Three seventh-inning errors turned a 3-0 deficit into a 9-0 margin with just three outs remaining. Southwestern (3-12) plated three runs in the final innings, but fell six runs short, and Benedictine (12-5) walked off the field with the 9-3 win.
Benedictine broke a scoreless deadlock with a single run in the fourth inning, then added two more in the fifth to push their lead to 3-0. The Ravens then used a combination of five hits and three Lady Builder errors to plate six runs in the seventh to push their lead to 9-0.
Refusing to let her team to down without a fight, Audrey Vorderlandwehr opened the seventh inning with a single to right-center, and head coach Amber Good called on Emily Hicks to run for Vorderlandwehr. Hicks scored almost immediately when Shelby Tucker laced her third home run of the season over the left-field fence on a full count. Maecy Charleston followed with a walk, then moved to second on Mary Reilly's fielder's choice. Peyton Timmerman's single through the right side pushed Charleston to third, but the Benedictine right-fielder bobbled the ball and allowed Charleston to score, but the next two Lady Builder batters were retired, and Southwestern's rally fell six runs short.
Game 5 – Graceland 7, Southwestern 5
Southwestern attempted a late rally for the second-straight game, and for the second-straight game its rally came up short. The two teams combined for 12 runs on 27 hits, but Southwestern (3-13) came up on the short end of a 7-5 decision.
Graceland (4-8) plated three runs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. The Lady Builders responded in the bottom of the second when Shelby Tucker singled up the middle to open the inning. An Alejandra Palacios ground-out sent Tucker to second, and an Allison Flinn single through the left side moved Tucker to third. Freshman Peyton Timmerman cashed Tucker in with a single through the left side, and trimmed the Southwestern deficit to 3-1.
The Yellowjackets scored two more runs in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead, but Southwestern added a run of its own in the bottom of the frame. Megan Walentynowicz singled to open the inning, then scored when the Graceland first-baseman failed to secure a catch in an attempt to retire Palacios. The run trimmed the deficit to 5-2 after five innings.
Graceland plated another pair of runs in the sixth, and took a 7-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but the Lady Builders refused to go quietly. Audrey Vorderlandwehr, Shelby Tucker and Palacios each notched doubles to open the inning. Mary Reilly, who replaced Vorderlandwehr as a pinch-runner, scored on Maecy Charleston's fielder's choice that retired Palacios at second. Peyton Timmerman's single to right-center allowed Tucker to score, while Charleston scored on a bobbled fielding attempt by the Yellowjacket shortstop. The error pulled Southwestern to within two runs of Graceland, and loaded the bases for Walentynowicz, but a diving catch by the Yellowjacket centerfielder robbed Walentynowicz of a base hit, and preserved Graceland's 7-5 win.
Next up for the Lady Builders…
Southwestern will return to action on March 21, traveling to Oklahoma City to face the Evangels of Mid America Christian University. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. at the MACU Softball Field.