The Tigers travelled to Boone, IA on Tuesday, March 26 to take on the DMACC Bears. The Tigers quickly learned why DMACC is considered one of the top NJCAA DII softball programs in the country.
Josie Swafford was the starting pitcher for the Bears. To say she was dominant would be an understatement. The freshman from Oklahoma threw a ball for the first pitch of the ballgame to leadoff batter, Saydee Terrell. From there, she threw nine straight strikes and mowed down three Tiger batters in order. Terrell went down swinging. McKaylee Dawson left the bat on her shoulder and earned the backwards K. Ashley Tennant whiffed on strike three as Swafford was impressive.
The bottom of the first left the Tigers with little hope after seeing the stuff Swafford was bringing to the plate. The home half of the inning started off with a leadoff triple to left field by Morgan Lewis off the Tigers' starting pitcher, McKaylee Dawson. Lewis scored on a single by Mia Ruther to make the score 1-0. After an out, two more singles were recorded to go along with a walk and the Bears were scoring quickly. After batting around the order in the first, the Bears opened up a quick 6-0 lead.
The next six batters for the Tigers suffered the same fate as the first three, strikeouts. And the Bears kept hitting and scoring.
The game was called after four and a half innings as the Bears led 21-0. Swafford went on to strike out 13 of the 18 batters she faced.
Game two got off to a much better start for the Tigers. Terrell, who was pitching and leading off for the visiting team opened up the game with a single up the middle. The sophomore then stole second. However, the momentum was short lasted as Taylor Hipsley struck out and Terrell got thrown out trying to steal third. Ashley Tennant hit into a fielder's choice to end the half inning after Kylie Swan had drawn a walk.
It wasn't until the bottom of the second until any runs were put on the board. The Bears hit a leadoff single, followed by a walk. The Bears played some small ball and scored both runners. After two complete, Tigers – 0, Bears – 2.
After a scoreless third inning, the Tigers responded in the fourth. Hipsley led off with a single through the left side of the infield, Swan reached on an error on a ball back to the pitcher and the runners advanced to second and third on the error. Tennant drove in both runs with a single into right field. Then it was the Tigers' turn to play some small ball. AnnaMarie Armstrong moved Tennant to second on a sac bunt, DJ Schmidt moved Tennant to third with a groundball to the right side, and Tennant scored on another error by the pitcher on a ball put into play by Nell Skeath. With a runner on first, Aliyah Scott popped up to the pitcher to end the top of the fourth, but not before the Tigers had taken a 3-2 lead.
The home team tied it up in the bottom of the fourth.
The Tigers threatened in the top of the fifth, but were unable to score after their first three runners reached base successfully.
The Bears scored two in the bottom of the fifth and the Tigers answered with one in the top of the sixth to make the score 5-4, Bears heading into the home half of the sixth.
The Tigers wouldn't get another shot at the plate as the home team scored seven runs in the bottom half of the inning. A single, an error, and another single got things going for the Bears. After five runs and two out had been recorded, Jayci Vos stepped to the plate for the Bears with two outs and a runner on second. Vos, hitting ninth in the Bears order, took Terrell deep to right center for a two-run shot to end the game via run rule.
The Tigers are back in action on Thursday, March 28 as they host Graceland JV at home.