Slow return to action


One of the bright spots for the Leathernecks, Rachel Beatty delivers one of two hits in Game 1 of the doubleheader.

Zach Martin

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — After taking one out of three in its last series against South Dakota, the Western Illinois softball team had an awkward nine-day break of no competition.

The Leathernecks’ game still appeared to be on break Tuesday.

The Leathernecks traveled to face the Southern Illinois Edwardsville Cougars and they left after getting swept 3-0 and 4-1 in a doubleheader.

Limited opportunities were presented in the opener, but the Cougars found a hole in the bottom of the second inning.

The combination of small and long ball proved to be just what SIUE needed, plating all three runs in that inning off an RBI double, single and a throwing error.

With both sides combining for just six hits, pitching became the focal point and the Leathernecks (10-26) couldn’t keep up with Baylee Douglass.

The Cougar ace tossed a complete game, striking out five Western batters en route to her ninth win of the season. Freshman Emily Ira dropped her 11th decision in four innings of work.

Sophomore outfielder Rachel Beatty was the lone Leatherneck to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 at the dish.

In the nightcap, SIUE waited until later to deliver the crushing blow to complete the sweep.

Before the drama, both Western and the Cougars scored once, each on singles, to have the score at 1 apiece.

A pitchers’ duel was beginning to take shape once again, this time between Kacyee Hart and Ashley Koziol, during the mid-innings of the contest.

Until the bottom of the sixth came up.

With Hart still on the mound, Rachel Keller laced an RBI double that scored Jordan LaFave, and a throwing error by Karissa Kouchis plated Tess Eby to make it 3-1.

Allison Smiley gave the insurance run on an RBI single that made it 4-1, and Douglass came on in the final two innings to shut the door.

Western returns to Mary Ellen McKee Stadium for the second time this season, and will resume Summit League play against the Omaha Mavericks with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday and the finale on Sunday morning.