NW SB April 26

Northwest softball junior Breck Dickey pitched eight strikeouts in four innings during the 8-7 loss against Wayne State March 23. Dickey has a 4.99 ERA, allowing 77 runs through just over 99 innings pitched.

Northwest softball looks toward its final four games of the regular season April 28-29, as all are being played at Bearcat Softball Field. The Bearcats will match up against Central Missouri and Lincoln in their final doubleheaders of the season.

Coach Naomi Tellez said the Bearcats’ goal is simple in these final home games — win to give themselves a chance to earn a spot in the MIAA Tournament May 3.

“The biggest thing is, you know, just continue to turn this program around,” Tellez said. “We want to finish above .500, and we want all these goals for ourselves, and this weekend’s a huge one. We have Senior Day on (April 29), and those kids have made a huge impact on this program, so to send them out in the right way would be awesome.”

There will be five seniors recognized April 29 — infielder Olivia Daugherty, catcher Madison Friest, infielder Aubrey Griffith, catcher Grace Ruehle and outfielder Brylee Kemper.

The ’Cats (25-23, 8-14 MIAA) will only need to win one of their final four games to secure a mark above .500 for the season for the first time since 2018. Northwest will play Central (31-16, 15-7 MIAA) in its first doubleheader of the weekend at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. April 28. The Bearcats will meet Lincoln (6-36, 2-20 MIAA) on Senior Day, in the final two games of the season at noon and 2 p.m. April 29.

Central is No. 4 in the MIAA standings and top-five in multiple hitting statistics. The Jennies are No. 5 in the conference in team batting average (.301), No. 4 in on-base percentage (.382) and No. 5 in triples (11). Junior outfielder Avery Anderson said the game plan for the first doubleheader is to not be bothered by the Jennies’ success this season and focus on her team’s own success.

“We just plan to, kind of, jump out on them and hopefully catch them off guard because I’m sure they’re going into it expecting us not to be somebody to reckon with,” Anderson said. “That’s kind of the mindset that we’re going into that game with.”

Anderson has made a significant impact in the team’s success this season, especially as of late, as she went 4-for-9 from the plate in the past three games with two RBIs.

After the contests with Central, the Bearcats will turn their sights to the season finale against Lincoln in hopes for a spot in the conference tournament. Lincoln is last in the MIAA standings at No. 14, last in the conference in team-batting average (.223) and last in on-base percentage (.277).

Northwest is No. 9 in the MIAA in team batting average (.286), No. 10 in on-base percentage (.355) and No. 7 in home runs (32). The ’Cats will need some shifting in the conference standings the final weekend of the regular season April 28-29 in order to make the postseason tournament May 3. The top-eight teams in the MIAA standings will make the tournament, as the Bearcats sit at No. 11.

Tellez said she hopes the team comes out ready to play these last four games for a chance to earn a spot in the playoffs.

“I told the team after (Pittsburg State), you know, we go in and we do our absolute very best to take these four games,” Tellez said. “Obviously, we wish we could go back and change some things early, but, you know, if we can at least give ourselves a chance till the very end, then that’s what we’re gonna do.”

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