by SYDNEY MOHR
From The Winonan, WSU’s student newspaper
Winona State University’s softball team split its four tournament games at the Hy-Vee Classic in St. Joseph, Mo., on Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23. Friday brought two wins to the Warriors, while Saturday ended with two losses.
Junior Jordyn Kleman pitched the first Friday afternoon game, bringing her winning streak on the mound up to 7-0 with a win of 5-3 over Northwest Missouri State. Sophomore Liz Pautz followed in the Friday evening game with a season high 13-person strikeout to win 2-0 over Missouri Southern State.
Game one brought an intense two-run rally started by senior Lani Val Zyl on a walk in the first inning. Junior Alison Nowak quickly followed suit with the first of three hits within this game and put two runners on. Fellow junior Alexis Kelsey broke the scoring seal with an RBI and sophomore Rylee Stout finished it off with an RBI of her own.
Kleman had a bit of trouble within the first few innings of the game, with a bases-loaded situation in the third inning against the Bearcats, but ultimately pulled Northwest Missouri to a no-run match until the sixth inning.
Northwest Missouri State managed a three-point home run in the last offensive frame of the game, which would have led to the loss of the game for the Warriors, but Nowak came back and padded the Winona State lead with a two-run double in the fifth and an RBI single in the top of the sixth, both of which were once again on two-out rallies.
In game two against Missouri Southern, Pautz was able to strike out 10 of the first 11 batters and junior Katie Kolb’s squeeze bunt in the third inning brought the first run of the game to give a 1-0 lead over Missouri Southern. Van Zyl finished off the 2-0 lead with an RBI single at the bottom of the sixth frame.
“We have such a good attitude with this team and I have a feeling it should be a good weekend. We’re all in good spirits and we’re ready to bring our best to Missouri,” junior Alyssa Van Valey said.
Saturday’s games would go the opposite of Friday, as game one brought a 5-1 loss against University of Central Oklahoma and game two a tight 1-0 loss against Missouri Western State University.
Game one brought struggle to Winona State, even though Pautz brought in a seven-strikeout game to follow up after Friday’s record. Central Oklahoma plated two runs within the first on two home-runs. The Warriors caught up in the second inning but could not bring in any more runs after that.
In game two, they managed to have more hits than Missouri Western with an 8-5 record, but all batters ended up stranded on bases, while Missouri was able to advance one of their runners in the fourth for the winning run of the game.
“It was a tough weekend, but I believe in my girls,” head coach Greg Jones said. “We played some tough competition and I believe the girls battled with all their might. At this point, we just keep pushing and working hard like we have been. I’m proud of these girls.”
The Warriors will start regular conference games this week, with two on Saturday, March 30, at Northern State University, starting at 12 p.m., then on Sunday, March 31, at Minnesota State University Moorhead starting at 12 p.m.