Northwest softball was unable to claim a conference win in four tries against Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State in back-to-back doubleheaders March 7-8.
The Bearcats (3-9, 0-4 MIAA) ran into a stout No. 8 Bronchos (20-1, 4-0 MIAA) club where Northwest only pushed across four runs in the two games played in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Northwest allowed 23 runs in the two matchups against the conference leaders. Junior pitcher Rachel Smith (1-4) and sophomore pitcher Reagan Thompson (2-3) were given the losses for games No. 1 and 2, respectively.
Before the ‘Cats started the trek back to Maryville, they stopped in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for a two-game set against the RiverHawks (12-11, 3-1 MIAA). Even though Northwest moved 169 miles east, the results were the same. The Bearcats dropped both games with Northeastern State by a score of 6-0 and 10-1.
“You look at those games and they got out to early leads, but it wasn’t a big lead,” coach Ryan Anderson said of the weekend. “Both games were a 1-1 game through four innings, and if we get any hits to score runs, their offense doesn’t wake up like it does.”
Junior infielder Kaitlyn Weis continued her early tear with a team-best .417 batting average while clubbing four home runs and has been responsible for half of Northwest’s total runs. Senior outfielder Jaedra Moses boasts the second-best batting average for the ‘Cats while having the most at-bats.
“Like coach said, it’s hard to feel sorry for ourselves when we don't get outside or when we haven't played all of our games we were suppose to,” Moses said. “I’m sure they have more experience, but they were playing at home, and we had to travel seven hours. I think getting our jitters out and playing our first conference games (will help).”
Northwest collected 24 hits over the four-game stretch, which averages out to six hits a game. Out of those four games, the Bearcats only scored five runs and weren’t able to put a run on the board in one of the games. Anderson explained while on the surface it may look like his team pitched poorly, the lack of offense didn’t help his pitching.
“From the pitching side of it, our offense has to help them out,” Anderson said. “Just put some runs on the board, and good offense makes an even better defense. Defensively, we played well and did what we were supposed to do, then we let baserunners get on, and it got out of hand.”
For Moses, taking early conference losses has worn on her and her teammates. She said even through the losses, the team keeps encouraging each other and maintains a positive attitude.
“It's really hard when you are getting beat,” Moses said. “I know all of us kind of get our heads down during the game but (we just need to keep) staying positive and even after the game we just kept telling each other it's going to get better and get more experience and start playing better.”
With the first home game for Northwest around the corner, Anderson said the possibility of getting both games in “doesn’t look good.” The Bearcats are slated to take on Southwest Baptist March 15 and Central Missouri March 16.