If the opening week of the season is any indication of things to come, followers of the Western Dubuque softball team might want to brace themselves for a season filled with tight games.
The Bobcats opened the season in Farley, May 21, with a 7-6 loss to Dubuque Senior before the second game was postponed due to weather, then played a pair of one-run games at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, May 22 — winning the first game, 5-4, before dropping the nightcap, 4-3.
Dubuque Senior grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top half of the second, but a four-run explosion by the Bobcats in the bottom of the frame made it 4-3. The Rams tied it up in the fifth, but again, Western Dubuque regained the lead with a single run in the bottom of the fifth to regain the advantage at 5-4.
Dubuque Senior then plated three runs in the sixth to lead 7-5, and a seventh inning rally by the Bobcats fell just short as the contest ended 7-6.
“Being the first game of the season, we had some bright spots and some things we need to improve,” said Western Dubuque coach Rachael Neal. “Our defense got out of some big holes but we had some miscues as well.”
“Our offense took a bit to get started, but we had some quality at bats and strong base running performances to build on this season,” added Neal.
Sydney Kennedy went the distance in the circle and allowed seven runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts, while throwing 135 pitches.
Offensively, the Bobcats managed 10 hits, with shortstop Amy Kane leading the attack going 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Sara Horsfield was 2-for-3, Jacie Walters 1-for-2 with two runs scored, Emma Gile 1-for-4 with one RBI, Kennedy and Jenna Hoefler 1-for-4, while Meg Besler scored two runs.
Game two has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. in Farley.
Traditional MVC heavyweight Jefferson was the opponent in Cedar Rapids, May 22, and the Bobcats managed a split with the J-Hawks.
The Bobcats rallied from a 4-1 deficit with four runs in the top of the seventh to steal a 5-4 win in the opener.
Bases loaded sacrifice flies by Kane and Ella Link followed by run scoring hits from Hoefler and Gile fueled the comeback.
Kennedy again went the distance and scattered four hits while fanning four. At the plate, Horsfield was 2-for-3 with one run scored, Kane 1-for-2 with one RBI, Hoefler 1-for-3 with one RBI, Hallie Wilgenbusch 1-for-4 with one RBI, Jacie Walters 1-for-2 with one run scored, Abigail Kluesner 1-for-2, and Gile 1-for-4. Kennedy and Link knocked in a run apiece, while Claire Horsfield and Besler scored runs.
Jefferson had a final inning rally of its own to take game two — scoring three times in the final inning to earn a 4-3 win.
“We had two outs in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t put them away,” said Neal. ‘We had a great performance from Hallie Wilgenbusch in her first varsity start.”
Wilgenbusch allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings of work, striking out three and walking five.
Offensively, Kennedy had a nice game at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Wilgenbusch was 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored, Kluesner was 1-for-3 with a double, Horsfield 1-for-3 with a run scored, Gile 1-for-3, Kane 1-for-4, and Besler scored a run.