MONMOUTH, Oregon – Going 11 innings has been a theme for the Western Oregon University softball team over the years at home. This year alone, the team played two games that lasted 11 innings and last year, 11 innings with Northwest Nazarene. In all three situations, Wolves emerged victorious. On Saturday, WOU was again victorious in 11 innings in Game 1 over Western Washington, 5-4, before the Vikings were able to pull away late in Game 2 for the 7-2 win to split the Saturday Great Northwest series Athletic Conference.
WOU Honored Head Coach Lonny Sargent as he threw the ceremonial first pitch in coaching his final home streak leading Wolves this weekend before retiring at the end of the season.
In front of a large crowd, the teams played until the end in the first game. After Maddie Mayer worked around two singles in the first to keep the game scoreless, WOU (20-24, 5-13 GNAC) opened the scoring in the second.
With an out, Kirah McGlothan walked then flew second. Kate Ronning quickly brought the run home with a right-hand single to lead 1-0.
Mayer and Sydney Brown then scored zeros over the next few innings before the WWU (26-18, 12-6 GNAC) took the lead in fifth. A throwing error was turned into a run with an RBI double to tie the game. Following another error that put the runners in the corners, an RBI crush put the Vikings in the lead 2-1. Mayer managed to limit the damage by returning a groundout to the pitcher with two runners.
WOU responded right away in the home half of the fifth. Logan Carlos hit a one-out double and after the second out was recorded, Zoie Recolan tied the game with an RBI single to the left for the score 2-2.
Neither team was able to score in the next innings before WOU put a runner in scoring position in the eighth. Recolan opens the frame with a simple then slide-clamp Hannah Stewart moved up to second place on a wild throw. Brown managed to come out of the inning with a pair of outs to keep the game tied.
Mayer worked around a one-out double in the ninth to tie the game after the hit with a strikeout and a steal.
With the game advancing in the 10and, the international tiebreaker rule was imposed by starting the first runner in second position. The Vikings scored in the top 10and with a simple RBI for the 3-2 lead. WOU tied the game at home when Sophie Franklin hit a sacrificial volley to the right to score Bella Valdes.
In the 11and, WWU regained the lead, but Mayer offered some big throws to keep the game close. With a two-runner run in the scoring position, Mayer posted a pop-up, one strikeout and one strikeout to keep the game 4-3.
WOU cashed in and got away with it in the 11th halfand when Natalie Willoughby sent a drive over the fence to the center right for a two-run homer and a 5-4 win for Wolves.
The WWU held on to a 10-8 lead in hits as the teams combined for four errors, three of which were by Wolves. Recolan led the way for WOU with three hits, while Carlos added two. Willoughby drove in two runs on his winning home run. Mayer went all 11 innings for his seventh win (7-9) of the season, allowing four unearned runs and adding seven strikeouts.
Dakota Brooks led the Vikings with three hits, while Tatum Dow and Brown added two hits apiece. Three players have driven in a race for WWU. Brown found himself with the loss in the circle (8-4) in 10 innings and allowed five runs (three earned), while adding nine strikeouts.
The WWU opened the scoring in Game 2 by tackling a run in the first inning.
It went 1-0 down in the third when WOU took the lead. Valdes opened the frame with a walk, then went third on a Carlos single. Carlos then stole second to put two runners in scoring position. With one out recorded, Recolan made the tying run by reaching a fielder’s pick at home plate. Willoughby put WOU ahead with an RBI single at second to leave Wolves ahead 2-1 after three.
The Vikings quickly moved back to fourth as they collected three runs on two hits to take a 4-2 lead.
WOU threatened in the sixth. McGlothan reached on an error then moved up to second on a Carlos single. Maddie Doig hit a right single and on the play, McGlothan was just ejected at the plate to keep it 4-2.
WWU added confidence in the seventh earning a two-run homer and a solo homer to take a 7-2 lead.
Until their last at bat, Recolan opened the seventh with a brace, but three straight strikeouts followed to end the game with the Vikings walking away with the 7-2 victory.
The WWU held on to a 7-6 lead in hits, while each team erred. Carlos led Wolves with two hits and Recolan and Willoughby added an RBI. In the circle, Chelsea Smith went all seven innings to find the loss (9-6) allowing seven runs (six earned), while adding seven strikeouts.
Brooks led the Vikings with two hits and added two RBIs, while Kanilehua Pitoy also drove in two runs. Inside the circle, Kira Doan went all seven innings for the win (10-7) allowing two earned runs with four strikeouts.
WOU and WWU will conclude their four-game series tomorrow (Sunday) with another doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. at the WOU softball field and it will also be senior day.