Whitworth Softball One Game Away From First NWC Crown - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Softball One Game Away From First NWC Crown

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Whitworth took the Saturday doubleheader to close within one game of its first-ever NWC title. (Photo: Whitworth) Whitworth took the Saturday doubleheader to close within one game of its first-ever NWC title. (Photo: Whitworth)

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth closed in on its first ever Northwest Conference softball championship with a pair of victories over visiting Lewis & Clark College on Saturday at Diana Marks Field.

With Makayla Lefever pitching a pair of complete-game victories, the Pirates won the opener 7-0 and the second game 5-1 to improve to 29-9 overall and 20-6 in the NWC. Whitworth still holds a one-game lead over George Fox after the Bruins beat Pacific twice on Saturday.

Whitworth and Lewis & Clark will complete the four-game series with another doubleheader on Sunday. One win will clinch at least a tie for the title for Whitworth and the right to host the upcoming NWC tournament. Two victories over the Pioneers (8-29, 5-21) will give the Bucs an outright crown.

Game 1 – Whitworth 7, Lewis & Clark 0

With Madi Perez battling a minor injury, Lefever stepped into the starting role in game one for the first time this season and tossed a complete-game four hitter. She struck out two Pioneers and walked none.

Whitworth scored two unearned runs against L&C starter Jill Pinder in the top of the first after Chelsey Hayes reached on a error to lead off the inning. Megan John added a double to put runners and second and third. Shannon Wessel and Peyton McMahon followed with consecutive sacrifice flies get the Bucs on the board.

Kelsey Stroshine's RBI single increased the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Then Pinder threw away a comebacker, allowing Stroshine and Sacha Clow to score for a 5-0 Whitworth lead.

Pioneer relief pitcher Hallie Knife kept Whitworth off of the board for the next three-plus innings. The Pirates didn't score again until the bottom of the sixth when Hayes doubled home two runs.

Stroshine went 2-2 and scored twice for Whitworth, while John went 2-4 with a pair of doubles.

Pinder fell to 1-5 after allowing five runs (one earned) on three hits in one official inning. Knife allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of relief. She struck out six Pirates.

Game 2 – Whitworth 5, Lewis & Clark 1

The Pirates jumped ahead early once again to back Lefever's second win of the day.

Lefever threw her second complete game, giving up one run on seven hits to improve to 16-2 this season. She lowered her ERA to 1.26 on the season.

Peyton McMahon tripled home the first two runs, and she later scored on a throwing error by the L&C catcher for a 3-0 lead in the opening frame.

Tessa Matthews and Kayla Batastini each had RBI doubles as Whitworth increased the lead to 3-0 in the third inning.

The Pioneers finally scored in the fourth when Madison Hollenbeck hit her fourth home run of the season.

Kalin Rooney started in the circle for L&C and fell to 3-11 after she allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 7.1 innings. Hollenback threw 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.

McMahon and Matthews each had a pair of hits for Whitworth.

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