Softball team wins 5 of 6, improves to 6-2 in SLIAC play

Webster University junior Ashley Meagher pitches during the first game of the Gorloks’ doubleheader with Illinois College on April 10 at Blackburn Park. Meagher threw eight innings and allowed three earned runs as Webster won 5-4. The Gorloks also won the second game, 11-8. PHOTO BY GALE WHITEHEAD.

A come-from-behind, extra-inning victory over Illinois College on April 10 punctuated a great week for the Webster University softball team, which has won seven of its last eight games. The Gorloks swept their doubleheaders with Illinois College and Blackburn College. They split a doubleheader with Greenville College to move into a three-way tie for second in the conference.

With the recent hot streak, the Gorloks are 12-16 overall and 6-2 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Webster is tied for second in the SLIAC with Spalding University and Greenville.

In Webster’s first game against Illinois College at Blackburn Park, sophomore Danielle LaVenture hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to score Samantha Powers to secure the win. The Gorloks were down 4-0 going into the bottom of the third when they cut the lead in half.

The Gorloks continued to fight as they scored another run in the fourth to inch closer. Senior Hanna Brindisi doubled in the bottom of the seventh to score sophomore Diana Haynes and tie the game at 4. Junior pitcher Ashley Meagher settled down after a rough start and earned her fourth victory of the season, as the Gorloks won 5-4.

In Game 2 against Illinois College, the Gorloks got on the board in the second as they scored three runs. Webster then tallied two runs in the third and six in a huge sixth inning. Illinois College scored four in the seventh to make a comeback, but Webster prevailed 11-8.

Five Webster players had two hits apiece and senior Tabatha Bahre led the way with three. Sophomore pitcher Trisha Thompson picked up her eighth victory of the season.

“We got a reality check real fast; we knew that we were better than how we were playing,” freshman Taylor Gibbs said of the Gorloks’ first game against Illinois College. “So, we just bared down and did everything we could to be clutch.”

Despite losing 2-1 in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Greenville on April 6 at Blackburn Park, Thompson took the mound in Game 2 and continued her dominance. Thompson threw a one-hit shutout against the Panthers as the Gorloks won 6-0.

The Gorloks got on the board right away in the second game against Greenville. They scored twice in the first, three times in the second and once in the third. The offense totaled nine hits after recording only two hits in Game 1.

Thompson recorded 10 strikeouts and only allowed one walk, while senior Julie Hartung and Bahre each had two hits.

“It felt good for the whole team because we came out after we lost the first game and we rallied in the first three innings,” Thompson said. “Our team came out to play in the second game. It felt really good that the girls would have my back and Ashley’s back to help us get through the games.”

Assistant coach Chelsea Schaffer likes the way Thompson is competing.

“She’s been doing a great job — she has to do what she has to do to win games and to keep us in there defensively,” Schaffer said. “We’re hoping her good pitching stays around for the rest of the year because she has a lot left before the start of the tournament.”

Gibbs said the Gorloks had a good mindset after their loss to Greenville in Game 1 of the doubleheader.

“We don’t really do anything differently; we just look at it as another game,” Gibbs said. “Just come out acting like nothing happened in the first game. We know what we are capable of and we proved it in the second game — just had a different mindset.

“It’s a different game — just forget about that one, come out and show them what we can do in the next one. Play our game, and that’s what we try to do most of the time.”

The Gorloks defeated Blackburn in both games, 4-2 and 14-5, on April 4 in Carlinville, Ill. Meagher got the win in Game 1 and Thompson earned the victory in Game 2.

Schaffer said she is pleased with where the team is at and is looking forward to the rest of the season.

“We’re doing good,” Schaffer said. “We just need to put everything together, though — put our offense and defense together. We go back and forth in our games when we have really good defense or really good offense or a little bit of both. I think we need a lot of both to keep winning.”

Next up for the Gorloks is a doubleheader against Spalding on April 13 at Blackburn Park. On April 15, Webster will host Washington University in a doubleheader.

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