By Rocky McNeff /// Sports Editor
On Saturday, Feb. 28, the Lewis & Clark softball team lost two back-to-back games against the Linfield Wildcats. These two games initiated conference play for the Pioneers and it is clear that the early runs from the Wildcats only fueled their fire.
In the first game, LC let three runs come in from their opponents The Wildcats kept that streak up in the second inning as well, but that was exactly when the Pios started to figure them out. By the fourth inning, three outs came quickly for the Wildcats and it looked as if LC had control. The Pios kept the Wildcats scoreless for the next two innings although they did not score any runs themselves. The streak ended in the seventh inning when Linfield hit a home run and also got a runner in on a grounder.
The second game proved that the Pioneers were learning the Wildcats’ game. Right off the bat, LC filled the bases in the first inning. For three innings, the Pioneers allowed only three runs to score. In the fourth inning, however, the Pios allowed 5 RBI’s from their opponents before shutting them down with a strikeout by LC pitcher Madison Hollenbeck (’15). Those five runs fueled the Pios to come back. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Amanda Rabith (’15) brought in a run and Jenai Rojo (’17) took advantage of a Linfield error and brought the score to 8-2. The Pios only let in one more run in the fifth inning, but held the score there as the game finished. This second game showed the determination and power that the team had in them despite the domination of their opponents.
On Sunday, March 1, the women’s softball team faced the Linfield Wildcats for the last two games of the weekend. Game three followed the trajectory of the first two games, with the Wildcats leading the game 5-2 by the end of the third inning. The two teams held each other off for two innings until Linfield brought in four runs in the top of the sixth. The game ended with a Pioneer loss 9-2.
The final game of the weekend came as a surprise to everyone in attendance. Jill Pinder (’16) stepped up to the mound and pitched two strikeouts while also collecting her first win of the season. Hollenbeck pitched until the top of the seventh inning where the Pioneers held strongly to their lead of 4-3. After a single from Rabith, Stephanie Garcia (’18) made her way home to score what would be the winning run for LC.
This was the first time in 53 games against the Linfield Wildcats that the Pioneers took the lead and won the game.
The next LC softball games are against University of Puget Sound on March 7 and 8.