Softball Loses four out of five at Saint Louis University Spring Tournament

Dayne McElwee, Courier Staff

The Western Illinois Leathernecks softball team traveled to St. Louis, Missouri this weekend to participate in a three team tournament in the Saint Louis University Spring Tournament. The Leathernecks went 1-4 on the weekend with their lone win against Saint Louis in the second game of their doubleheader. The Leathernecks currently sit with an 8-8 overall record this season. They start Summit League play in two weeks as they host North Dakota State.

Friday the Leathernecks had a double header against Saint Louis. The Billikens came into this game sitting at 1-7 in the early season. Senior Abby Carlin didn’t make it easy for the Billikens offense as she struck out six of her first eight batters that she had faced. Neither team got much going for the first three innings. In the bottom of the fourth Gabbie Kowalik hit a solo shot to right-center giving the Billikens the lead 1-0. The Leathernecks weren’t able to produce a run to tie the game at one.

The second game of this double-header didn’t take long for Western to produce runs. In the top half of the second inning with runners on first and second Bella Alvarez singled to load the bases. Jorja Hudson brought in Rodriguez to give Western a 1-0 lead. With Ashley Minyard up  she hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Alyssa Ealy and put WIU up 2-0. In the bottom half of the third inning Saint Louis was able to take the lead 4-2, as they hit a 3 run home run and scored an unearned run.The Billikens were able to score one more in the fourth and fifth both with singles up the middle to extend their lead to 6-2.  WIU exploded in the seventh as they had five hits and scored three runs. With two runners on Alyssa Ealy hit a 3 run homerun to cut the deficit to one for the Leathernecks. Saint Louis was able to hold off WIU in the top of the seventh to win the game 6-5.

The Leathernecks  resumed play Saturday with another double header. Their first game was against Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers scored a run in the first after WIU committed an error. The Leathernecks offense started the game off hot as three of their first four batters were able to tally a hit. Sydney Hollings led the game off with a double to left field. Piper Foote followed that up with an RBI double to left. Savannah Rodriguez was able to hit her first homerun on the season as she extended the WIU lead to 3-1 after a two run homerun. In the top of the second the Ramblers were able to bring home two as Allyson Ivey hit a two run homerun. The Ramblers were able to also plate two in the third as both of these runs were unearned. Loyola-Chicago took the lead 5-3 after the third. In the sixth Alyssa Ealy brought home Foote on a single. WIU trailed 5-4 and looked to tie the game up in the seventh as they had two singles to start the inning. They were unable to bring home a run ending the game with a score of 5-4.

Game two of this doubleheader the Leathernecks faced off against Saint Louis once again. The Leathernecks started off the game hot as they were able to plate two in the first two innings off of a Maddy Anderson solo homerun and a RBI single by Sydney Hollings. In the bottom half of the  second inning the Leathernecks fell apart as they allowed four runs with three being unearned. Going into the sixth inning down 4-2 WIU  looked for a spark. Singles from Foote  and Rodriguez started off the sixth inning. Bella Alavarez was able to help load the bases. A wild pitch from the Billikens was able to advance the runners platting one. Sophomore Kellie Marcheschi doubled to right field to give the Leathernecks a 5-4 lead. WIU was able to hold Saint Louis and get their eighth win of the season.

The final game of this tournament the Leathernecks faced off against Loyola-Chicago once more. The Leathernecks started the game off with a single and a walk. Savannah Rodriguez came up to the plate and was able to hit her second home run of the weekend giving WIU an early 3-0 lead. Meghan Henson led off the second with a walk and was able to advance to second right away. Kellie Marcheschi drove in the  senior with a single. WIU was able to  extend the lead to 4-0. The Ramblers were able to score two in the second and two in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4. WIU had a surge in the fifth as they  scored two to give them a 6-4 lead. Loyola was able to put up a run in the sixth and seventh to tie the game up at 6-6. This game went into  extras tied at six. In the bottom of the eight the Ramblers were able to walk this game off with a single to center field to win the game 7-6.

Western Illionis travels to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the Middle Tennessee State Tournament. They will face off against Mercer, and Middle Tennessee State. This tournament is being held from March 20-21.