Throw out two innings, and Western Nevada College’s softball team would have garnered a split against North Idaho College.
Instead, the Wildcats suffered through a doubleheader sweep, losing 5-0 and 8-6, Friday afternoon at Edmonds Sports Complex.
The teams meet again today in a noon doubleheader.
Leah Wentworth, WNC head coach, was disappointed by the sweep yet pleased with the way her team fought after beng stymied on two hits by three NIC pitchers.
“We made improvements from the first game,” Wentworth said. “We made good adjustments at the plate and got a couple of longballs (Heather Septon and Andi Lee) and we played well defensively. I’d rather lose like that than give the game away.
“North Idaho is a tough team. They are always competitive. Hopefully we can build off this going into tomorrow (Saturday).”
In the nightcap, WNC scored one in the second and three in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. The three runs came off Brittany Hecker, who pitched three shutout innings in the opener.
In the second, Makenzie Hospodka reached on an error and came around to score. Hecker came on in the fourth, and was treated rudely.
Makenzie Hospodka doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cara McCarthy. Jenny Rechel followed with a run-scoring single to left field and then scored on a homer by Septon. Hecker managed to escape further damage.
Carlee Beck, who went the distance in the opener, allowed just one hit through the first four innings. Her fifth and final inning was a rough one, as NIC scored four times to tie the game.
After retiring the first hitter in the fifth, Beck gave up five straight hits, including a two-run bunt single by Miranda Powless.
“She was tired (after the first game),” Wentworth said. “We asked her to go as long as she could. They were starting to time her (better).”
WNC went ahead 5-4 when Andi Lee drilled a solo homer off Tori Almos, who came back in to relieve the ineffective Hecker.
Lee has been WNC’s best hitter of late. In her last nine appearances, she is 15-for-25 with nine RBI.
“I have a little more confidence,” Lee said. “I don’t get as many opportunities as I’d like, so I have to take advantage of the ones I get.”
“She has been real solid,” Wentworth said. “It started with Salt Lake. She is getting into a rhythm. She is seeing the ball really well.”
Reliever Lindsey Ashbaugh wiggled out of a first-and third jam in the sixth but wasn’t so fortunate in the seventh.
After two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases, Hayden Fields delivered a two-run double to make it 6-5. A bloop single to left by Hayley Fields made it 7-5, and Powless completed the barrage with a single to center.
WNC managed just one in the seventh on a run-scoring hit by Meghan Hospodka.
In the opener, NIC scored two unearned runs and added three in the sixth to make it 5-0. Two of the runs in the sixth came on a triple by Hayley Fields.
Hits were few and far between for WNC.
Madi Gonzalez singled to lead off the game, and then NIC pitchers retired 17 of the next 18 hitters. Septon had the lone hit, a single in the third.
“We were struggling to make adjustments through the pitching changes,” Wentworth said. “We should be able to adjust easier. The last time we faced them they used two pitchers (per game).”