Feb. 17, 2013
Bearcat softball off to best start in program history
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – The Northwest Missouri State softball team battled through Sunday to knock off Ouachita Baptist, 5-2 before withstanding a late rally from Oklahoma Panhandle State for a 9-6 win to close out the 7-State Softball Classic.
The Bearcats stand at 7-0 on the season giving them their best start in program history. Before Sunday the Bearcats 5-0 start equaled the best start under Head Coach Ryan Anderson when his 2007 squad won their first five games in his first season at the helm.
Game one saw the Bearcats get another solid pitching performance, as Abbie Vitosh earned the win going 5.1 innings and scattering five hits. Vitosh improved to 2-0 on the season as she was charged with one earned run while striking out seven.
Northwest got on the board in the third inning when Candace Miller singled to left field scoring Rachael Schmitz. Miller finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Ouachita Baptist would tie the game in the top of the fourth inning with an RBI single, however the Bearcats would explode in the bottom half to break the game open.
Kristine Labertew belted her first home run of the season, scoring Stephanie Price who was hit by a pitch. After two walks, a single and an error Northwest would extend its lead to 5-1 on an infield single by Miller.
OBU scratched a run back in the top of the sixth inning on a solo homer, but Morgan Brunmeier entered in relief to pitching the final 1.2 innings for the save.
The finale saw the Bearcats hold off a feverish rally from Oklahoma Panhandle in the late innings for a 9-6 victory.
The Northwest offense gave the Bearcat pitching staff the run support it needed early with a five run second inning. The Bearcats scored five runs on six hits with a home run from Kylie Cantrell and RBI singles from Miller and Labertew.
Kristen Uthe added a RBI double to cap the inning as Northwest left the bases loaded.
After OPSU added a run in the top of the fourth, Northwest answered with three more runs on three hits. Labertew picked up her second RBI on a single and Cantrell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded also giving her two RBIs in the win.
Northwest also had a season high three errors but managed to overcome the miscues after a four run inning from the Aggies pulled the Bearcat lead to 8-5.
Both teams would trade runs in the sixth as Brunmeier again entered in relief to shut the door on the Aggies. Paige Blythe earned the win for the Bearcats going 4.1 innings before Brunmeier finished the final 2.2 innings and picked up her second save.
Miller finished 3-for-4 with an RBI in the night cap as four more Bearcats added multiple hits. Uthe also joined Labertew and Cantrell with two RBIs.
Northwest returns to the diamond next weekend as they travel north for the NSIC/MIAA Crossover Tournament. Tournament action in Minnesota starts on Friday with a single game for the Bearcats against Sioux Falls. The final two days feature double-headers against Upper Iowa and Concordia-St. Paul on Saturday and a Sunday meeting with Minnesota State Mankato and Winona State.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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