Charger softball ended its season on a positive note Saturday with a sweep over the Hastings Broncos in Hastings, Nebraska. Johanna Vaske and Abbygail Lint combined for five total home runs across two contests as the Cliff took game one 11-6 and game two 9-4. Hastings committed 12 total errors, compared to just two by Briar Cliff.
BC was down 2-1 after four innings of game one before the Cliff put together a four-running fifth inning. With Nicole Wiles on second base, Bailey Nichols smacked an RBI double to center field to tie the game and then reached third on the throw. Rachele Heaton singled to left field to score Nichols and give the Chargers the lead. With Heaton on third and Danielle Ullmann pinch running for Alayna Allen on first, Vaske reached first on a dropped fly ball, which allowed the runners to reach home.
The Broncos added three runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at five.
Nichols hit a two RBI single in the sixth inning for the Cliff to take the lead again, this time for good. Hastings tacked on a run in the sixth but BC put up four runs in the seventh inning, including a solo homer by Vaske and a two-run bomb by Lint, and put the Broncos down in order in the bottom of the frame for the 11-6 win.
Lint was the winning pitcher for BC, allowing two hits and one run in her 2.2 innings of work. She went 2-for-2 at the plate and had two RBIs. Nichols (three RBIs) and Vaske (four RBIs) were both 3-for-4 in game one.
Josie Bumgardner pitched all seven innings for Hastings, allowing 14 hits and seven earned runs. She struck out six batters.
Briar Cliff never trailed in game two, taking the lead with a single run in the second frame when Lint scored on a wild pitch by Sarah Barger. The Cliff added a run in the third on a misplayed grounder by the Hastings shortstop to score Heaton.
The Broncos tied the game with a run in the third and fourth innings but BC put together another four-run fifth inning to take the lead back for good. With runners on first and second, Vaske hit her second bomb of the day over the left field fence. Lint singled to right field but reached third base on a misplayed grounder and then crossed home when Riha’s ground ball was misplayed on the next at bat.
With a 6-3 lead to start the seventh inning, Vaske hit her third home run over the center field fence and Lint hit a solo home run later in the frame. Nichols doubled to center field to bring home Wiles from second base to round out the scoring for the Cliff. Hastings got one run back in the bottom of the inning but the Chargers were able to complete the sweep.
Lint was 4-for-4 in game two with three runs scored and one RBI. Her two home runs on the day were the first two of her career. Vaske ends the season with nine total homers, which is good for second on BC’s all-time list. She went 3-for-4 at the plate in the nightcap with five RBIs.
Allen went the full seven innings for BC with seven strikeouts. She allowed eight hits and two walks. Barger takes the loss, giving up 14 hits and striking out four.
Despite Saturday’s wins, the Chargers will not make the GPAC playoffs. BC ends the season with an 11-27 overall record and 6-16 conference mark. The 2019 season was the Cliff’s first 10-win year since 2016.