In the final week of the regular season the Briar Cliff softball team was officially eliminated from playoff contention after being swept by Dordt 11-5 and 3-2 (8 innings) Wednesday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The Chargers came out desperate and struck first with three runs in the top of the third inning in game one. The first pair of runs came on a two-RBI single by BC starting pitcher Allayna Allen with the bases loaded, scoring Bailey Nichols and Rachele Heaton. Johanna Vaske crossed home on the next play after Summer Williams flew out to center field, deep enough for the sacrifice.
The Defenders came right back, however, with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Dordt’s first seven batters of the game were retired by Allen, six via strike out, before a walk got things going for the home team as the Defenders would never look back.
Dordt eventually tagged Allen for 10 runs in 4.1 innings on nine hits and three walks. Allen finished with nine strike outs.
Tianna Soodsma picked up the win for the Defenders in a complete-game effort. She allowed five runs on eight hits and one walk with four strike outs.
Allen helped her team’s chances at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Heaton went 2-for-4 and Nichols was the only Cliff batter to reach base multiple times with a single and a hit by pitch. Marissa VandenBerg was 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Dordt.
Briar Cliff never led in the nightcap as seven innings wasn’t enough to decide a winner. Dordt put up a run in the fourth and sixth innings with BC tying the game up in the fifth and seventh before the Defenders walked off victors in the eighth.
Both Charger runs came due to at bats by Nichols as she tied the game up at 1 after an error by the Defenders allowed Danielle Ullmann to score after she had reached previously on an infield single with two outs. Nicole Wiles moved Ullmann to third with a single herself.
The seventh inning was a similar scenario for the Blue and Gold as the team saw two outs with nobody on base. Wiles rounded out the bottom of the batting order with her second hit of the contest to bring up the leadoff hitter for one last chance as Nichols came through with a double to right center.
Briar Cliff came up just short on another two out rally in the eighth when Vaske tripled after the first two batters were retired in the frame. Unfortunately the Chargers were unable to get another hit and the Defenders’ Rachel Evavold led the bottom of the eighth off with a single and would score two batters later.
Evavold tallied three hits in game two and scored two runs. She also picked up the pitching victory. Evavold spend all eight innings in the pitching circle, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Summer Williams suffered the loss, despite a solid outing from the southpaw. She pitched the entire contest and struck out four Dordt hitters.
The doubleheader sweep vaulted Dordt into the sixth spot in the GPAC standings at 9-9. The Defenders are 17-18 overall this season. Briar Cliff dropped to 9-26 this year with a 4-16 league mark. The team finishes off the season with a doubleheader against Hastings (14-22, 6-12 GPAC) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Hastings, Neb.