ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Free Press
The Tabor College softball team dropped a pair of games to McPherson on a blustery Saturday afternoon, 4-1 and 7-3.
In the opener, Johannah Love pitched scoreless ball for Tabor until the fifth inning, when Connie Richardson singled and then scored when Laura Reed blasted a two-run wind-aided home run to put McPherson on top, 2-0.
The Bulldogs made it 4-0 in the seventh inning when Reed and Kim Saylor singled with one out. Reed scored on a wild pitch and Saylor added the fourth run on a Lisa Salazer single.
Tabor averted the shutout in the bottom of the seventh when Hillary Driffill doubled and then scored on a grounder by Laci Vogt. But the game ended with the Bulldogs on top, 4-1.
In the second game, pitcher Holly Lindsay took the loss.
Trouble began in the bottom of the first inning when Reed led off with a single, moved to second on an error and Salazer loaded the bases with a one-out single.
Richardson walked to drive in the first Bulldog run, but Lindsay worked her way out of the jam with no further damage.
McPherson added another run in the third inning when Juli Greep singled and scored on a Bluejay throwing error, making the score 2-0.
McPherson put up five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on five hits and two Tabor errors to push their lead to 7-0.
Tabor tried to mount a comeback in the top of the sixth. Jacqueline Schnell singled to lead off the inning, stole second and third and scored on a ground out to cut the lead to 7-1.
Erin Loewen singled and then scored on a single by Lindsay. Love followed with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly to whittle the lead to 7-3. But McPherson closed the door on the rally for the win.
Tabor coach Tina King was disappointed in defeat, but she was still optimistic.
“We played pretty good, but McPherson got the timely hits,” King said. “They hit better than we did, and we also committed some crucial errors.
“I don’t think we came out as strong as we could have in the beginning,” she added. “Our women’s expectations are really high and we know we can beat anybody if we play the way we know we can. This was just one of those days.”
With the losses, Tabor falls to 7-7 in conference play and 10-21 overall.
Southwestern-Tabor kept the pressure on its KCAC counterparts by sweeping a pair of one-run games from Southwestern last week at Winfield, 8-7 and 9-8.
In the process, the Bluejays improved their overall record to 10-19 and 7-5 in conference play.
In the opener, Erin Loewen reached on an error with two outs in the top of the first inning and scored when Johannah Love blasted a triple. Love scored one batter later on a single by Holly Lindsay to give Tabor a 2-0 lead.
Tabor made it 3-0 in the third inning when Jacqueline Schnell struck out to lead off the inning but reached first base on an error by the catcher.
Tabor quickly made Southwestern pay for the blunder as Porsche Davis belted Tabor’s second triple of the game to drive home Schnell.
Southwestern bounced back in the bottom of the third inning when a walk, two Bluejay errors and three consecutive base hits resulted in four runs and a 4-3 Moundbuilder lead.
Tabor regained the lead in the fifth inning when Julie Wall led off with a single then scored on an error on a ball hit by Schnell, who stole third base and eventually scored.
But Southwestern used four base hits in the home half of the fifth to grab a 7-5 lead.
The Bluejays didn’t quit, though, tying the game in the sixth. Hillary Driffill led off with a double and scored on a single by Andrea Mendel.
Julie Wall reached on a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning; she scored on a double by Schnell.
Love, meanwhile, took over on the mound after five strong innings by Lindsay and shut down the Moundbuilders, allowing Tabor to stage its dramatic finale.
In the seventh, Loewen singled, moved to second on a sacrifice by Lindsay and scored when a ball off the bat of Driffill was misplayed. Love stopped the Moundbuilders in the seventh to earn the 8-7 victory.
In the second game, Tabor scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning when Loewen reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second when Love walked and stole both third and home. Love came around to score on an RBI by Lindsay, who also scored to put Tabor on top, 3-0.
After Southwestern scored twice in the top of the second inning, Tabor answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Mendel was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored on a single from Schnell. Schnell scored when Davis walloped a double. Davis would eventually score on a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by Lindsay for a 6-2 Tabor lead.
Southwestern scored three runs in the third to cut the lead to 6-5, but Tabor countered with three more runs in the sixth. Consecutive singles by Schnell, Davis, and Loewen put Tabor on top 9-5.
Southwestern mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh on three singles and two walks, but Love managed to get the final out and secure the 9-8 win.
Coming-Tabor was scheduled to travel to Sterling Tuesday before competing in the KCAC post-season tournament Thursday and Friday in McPherson. Game time and opponent will be determined.