WINFIELD, Kan. – The Southwestern College softball team dropped its first two games of the 2017 season Sunday afternoon. The Lady Builders fell to the Yellowjackets of Graceland University in both games of the doubleheader, 13-0, 9-5, at the Broadway Recreation Complex.
GAME 1 – Graceland 13, Southwestern 0 (5 Innings)
First-game nerves and jitters may have gotten the best of Southwestern (0-1) in the opening contest of Sunday's twinbill. Three different Lady Builder pitchers combined for nine walks in the contest, four of which led directly to Graceland (2-1) runs. Making her first start of the season, junior Peyton Timmerman pitched 3.1 innings in the opener, and allowed six earned runs on eight hits with three walks. She also recorded the only Lady Builder strikeout of the game. Senior Allison Flinn threw 1.1 innings with four runs on three hits and three walks, while freshman Cady Norton allowed one hit but walked three in 0.1 innings in the circle.
Graceland, meanwhile, looked to be in near mid-season form. Playing its second doubleheader in as many days, the Yellowjackets scored 13 runs on 12 hits, while GU starter Breanna Fortune finished one walk short of a perfect game.
Graceland scored a pair of runs in the opening inning, and held a 2-0 lead through the first three innings of the game. But things came unraveled for the Lady Builders in the fourth inning. Graceland used seven hits and four walks to plate 11 runs while pushing its lead to 13-0. Southwestern had no answer, and the Jackets cruised to the 13-0 run-rule decision.
GAME 2 – Graceland 9, Southwestern 5
Southwestern's offense found its rhythm in the second game. After being completely shut-out in the opener, the Lady Builders recorded the first three hits of the season and a Graceland (3-1) error to plate first three runs of the season, all in the first inning. But Southwestern (0-2) was unable to catch the Jackets down the stretch, and came up four runs short in the final game of the series.
Junior Whytleigh Guerrero led the Southwestern's offense with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate. The Stroud, Okla., native also scored a run and hit another one home. Five other Lady Builders also recorded hits in the contest.
Junior Peyton Timmerman returned to the circle in a relief role. Timmerman replaced freshman starter Hannah Foltz after just one out, and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. She faced 25 batters, and was tagged with the loss.
Graceland opened the second game with five runs on three hits in the first inning. But Southwestern answered with a three run bottom of the inning. With one out, sophomore Alex Ritzema doubled to right-center. Ritzema went on to scored when freshman Cady Norton singled up the middle, and Norton scored on Guerrero's double to the left-center gap. A fielding error by the Graceland right-fielder allowed Guerrero to score from second, and cut the deficit to 5-3 heading into the second inning.
The Yellowjackets added another run in the second to push their lead to 6-3, then scored two more in the sixth, and another in the seventh to take a 9-3 lead. But Southwestern wasn't done just yet. Timmerman doubled to open the inning, then moved to third when Ritzema reached on an error. Timmerman went on to score on a Guerrero ground-out, and Ritzema scored when Jessica Watkins singled through the left side, but that was as close as the Lady Builders could get. The Jackets induced a pop-up to end the game, and completed the sweep with a 9-5 victory in the second game.
Sunday's sweep drops Southwestern to 0-2 to open the season. The Lady Builders will hit the road Friday for a four-game road swing. Southwestern will face NCAA Div. II Oklahoma Baptist on Friday, and will conclude the trip at Southwestern Christian on Saturday.