SOFTBALL — Northwestern State competitive in a pair of losses at SFA
NACOGDOCHES, Texas — While Saturday may not have included victories, it proved something to the Northwestern State softball team. The competitiveness of both contests validates the fact that the Lady Demons aren’t far off the Southland Conference leader.
Stephen F. Austin claimed 2-0 and 9-5 decisions at home, pushing its record to 26-8 overall and 17-0 in league action. The loss drops NSU to 17-14 overall and 11-6 in league action.
“We had a chance to win both games,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “We brought a lot of fight, and the kids were in it, we just did finish.”
Both games played out in dissimilar fashion. The Lady Demons put runners on in the opener, but the big hit avoided them.
Sophomore catcher Alexis Perry made sure that wasn’t the case in the nightcap. She hit a two-out grand slam — NSU’s third of the season — in the top of the fifth inning that gave the Lady Demons a 5-2 advantage.
But it spiraled shortly thereafter. The Lady Jacks answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the fifth, and five in the bottom of the sixth to sweep the doubleheader.
“We got up, and I think were hoping instead of just playing softball,” Pickett said. “We are too experienced to play that way. We have kids that can get that done. We just have to learn from it and move on.”
The series concludes Sunday with a single game at 12 p.m.
“We have to do a lot better tomorrow, coming out and being able to play the game for seven innings,” Pickett said. “We got to keep being the aggressor.”
SFA 2, NSU 0
The pitchers’ duel of Game 1 featured a strong outing from junior Jensen Howell. She went all six innings, yielding just two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. Howell was the tough-luck loser, dropping to 5-6 on the season.
Stephen F. Austin’s Kassidy Wilbur was slightly better, going all seven innings, surrendering three hits and striking out four to improve to 21-3 on the year.
SFA 9, NSU 5
Junior E.C. Delafield received the start in Game 2. She lasted 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with a pair of strikeouts. Sophomore Bronte Rhoden suffered the loss, giving up four runs on four hits in 1.2 innings of relief to drop to 4-4 on the season.
Wilbur tossed the final 2.1 innings and logged the win, allowing one earned run with four strikeouts. Reagan Chism received the started and went four innings, surrendering one earned run on six hits.
Senior outfielder Kaitlyn St. Clair gave NSU the early lead with an RBI single in the top of the third. The Lady Jacks retook the lead with a pair in the third before Perry’s blast.
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