After picking up wins over Bethany and Southwestern and falling to Kansas Wesleyan earlier in the week, the fourth-seeded Tabor College softball team?s KCAC tournament run ended with a 4-0 loss to Bethany Friday.
It was the teams? second meeting in three days?the Bluejays earned a 3-1 victory over the Swedes in the first round Wednesday.
Tabor faced a familiar pitcher in the circle in Camille McIver. In a regular-season meeting between the two teams March 28, McIver took the loss in a 17-5 Tabor victory.
But this time around, the Tabor offense struggled to get things going.
?Obviously, (McIver) pitched really well that day when we played her at the tournament, but someone that we scored 17 runs off of, you should have all the confidence in the world that you can get something going, and I just didn?t feel like that really went on,? coach Suzanne Unruh said. ?We just could not put anything together. It was frustrating.?
After two scoreless innings, Bethany got on the board with two runs off two hits in the top of the third.
The Swedes added a run in the fifth inning off a hit and an error and scored one more in the seventh off three hits.
Tabor, meanwhile, tallied four hits in the game but could not string any together and stranded five on base, including two base runners in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Kellyn Holt was 2-for-3 at-bat. Araselly Vargas and Jordan Haney were each 1-for-3.
Haney (2-2) absorbed the pitching loss. In 22?3 innings, she gave up three hits and two runs (both earned). She neither walked nor struck out any batters. Jaycie Morris and Tristen Hall each pitched in relief.
With the win, Bethany advanced to the championship game to face Kansas Wesleyan, who had handed Tabor its first loss of the double-elimination bracket Thursday. After losing to Bethany in the first championship game, Kansas Wesleyan went on to win the tournament for the second consecutive year with a 7-3 win over the Swedes.
Last year, Tabor?s season ended with a 7-3 loss to Kansas Wesleyan in the tournament championship game.
The Bluejays conclude the season with an overall record of 26-25.
For five seniors?Jaycie Morris, Yasnaya Susoeff, Jordan Haney, Lauren Massey and Madison Tracy?it was their final outing in a Tabor uniform.
?(We) lost a lot of just overall, hard work?their work ethic,??Unruh said. ?I hope that kind of trickles down to next year.?
Unruh looks forward to next season?s possibilities.
?(We?re) coming back with a good crowd,? she said. ?The kids that we?re getting back next year are going to want it just as bad and maybe potentially could get it done next year just because they?ve felt how it hurts to lose like that.?
Kansas Wesleyan 7, Tabor 0
KCAC Semifinals, Thursday
Having defeated Southwestern earlier in the day, Tabor sustained its first loss of the tournament to the No. 6 Coyotes.
Tabor was plagued by a pair of untimely errors, the first of which came in the top of the third inning. After two scoreless and hit-less innings, Kansas Wesleyan got on the board with three runs on two hits and an error. The Coyotes led off with a single and followed with a bunt to reach base on a wild throw. An RBI double scored the first run. The Coyotes plated two more runs, thanks to two sacrifice squeeze bunts.
The Coyotes scored another run as the result of an error in the top of the fifth inning.
Tabor got its first and only two hits of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kellyn Holt led off with a single, and Stormie Bush hit a sacrifice bunt, then Araselly Vargas reached on a walk. Jordan Haney hit a single, but Holt was tagged out at home after attempting to plate a run from second. Tabor was held scoreless, as a ground out stranded two on base.
Things went from bad to worse in the seventh, as the Coyotes scored three more runs off four hits to take a 7-0 lead.
Tabor could not answer in the bottom half of the inning. Although Sara Vela reached base on an error, a fly out and a double play ended the inning and the game.
Marilee Burge took the pitching loss. Over seven innings, she gave up seven hits and seven runs (four earned). She walked three batters and struck out three. McKenzie Draper earned the win with a two-hitter.
?I told the girls, against a team like that, you cannot make errors defensively?not to mention we didn?t get any hits,? coach Suzanne Unruh said. ?We?ve hit her before. We just didn?t adjust.
?Marilee pitched amazing. That wasn?t anything she did. She ran out of gas there, but she finished it. I think those timely errors?those times where we had to make that out?and they just took advantage. That?s the kind of team that?ll do that. We talked about that. We knew it was going to be a tough game, but when you play teams like that, you cannot make mistakes.?
Tabor 4, Southwestern 0
KCAC Quarterfinals, Thursday
In its second game of the tournament, Tabor again relied on the pitching of Marilee Burge, who pitched a complete-game shutout to earn the win over the No. 8 Moundbuilders. She scattered seven hits over seven innings while walking one batter and striking out three.
The Bluejays provided run support early, scoring their first two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kellyn Holt led off with a single, and Araselly Vargas drove in the first run with a one-out single. Madison Tracy hit a two-out RBI double to plate the second run.
The score remained 2-0 through four innings. Tabor added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Holt doubled to lead off the inning, then Stormie Bush bunted and reached on a base hit. Vargas and Jordan Haney each hit a sacrifice fly. Tracy and Sara Vela also singled in the inning.
Southwestern brought Allison Flinn in to close the game in the bottom of the sixth, and she promptly retired the side in order.
Burge worked around a pair of singles in the top of the seventh inning by gaining two strikeouts and a ground out to hold the Moundbuilders scoreless. Rachel Baker sustained the loss for Southwestern.
Tabor tallied 10 hits. Holt was 3-for-4 at-bat. Tracy was 2-for-3 and had one RBI.
?We took our game and our high from last night?s win to here,? coach Suzanne Unruh said. ?I don?t even think it mattered who was going to pitch with Southwestern because Rachel Baker kind of shut us down when they came to our place, so I think it was just nice to see our girls so positive?not caring who was on the mound?we were going to hit. We scored early, and that?s a huge difference because it took pressure off of Marilee and it just changes the whole aspect of the game.?
Tabor 3, Bethany 1
KCAC First Round, Wednesday
The No. 4 Bluejays won in walk-off fashion over the No. 5 Swedes.
With the game tied at 1-1 after a sixth-inning two-out RBI double by Lauren Massey, the game came down to the final inning.
With one out, Bethany?s Mariana Cerenio-Jordan reached base on a misplayed grounder, but Tabor starter Marilee Burge retired the next two batters to prevent any runs from scoring.
In the bottom half of the inning, Stormie Bush hit a one-out single, then Araselly Vargas came up big with her first hit in four at-bats for the game. Vargas launched a two-run home run off Swede starter Jasmine Stewart to give Tabor the walk-off win.
Burge (16-10) threw a one-hitter, giving up one unearned run off a hit and an error in the second inning. She walked one batter and struck out four.
Tabor tallied 10 hits. Kellyn Holt and Jordan Haney were each 2-for-3. Bush was 2-for-4.
The last time Tabor faced Stewart on the mound in late March, Stewart threw a one-hitter and Tabor lost, 9-2.
?When the seniors know it?s on the line and they?re going to give it their all, I think their leadership and their no-fear approach to a conference tournament really just trickled down the line to the younger kids,? coach Suzanne Unruh said. ?(Stewart) shut us down (in the prior loss) and (Bethany) went with her, which was smart.
?I think (we) just went up and attacked. It was late, obviously. It was not scoring early at all, but I think the clutch things happened when (they) needed to happen and (the girls) just believed in each other.?