TUCSON, Ariz. – The Dakota Wesleyan University softball team competed in the annual Tucson Invitational from Monday March 5, to Friday March 9 in Tucson, Ariz.
On Tuesday, the Tigers played three games. In the first game of the day, DWU took on Grace College (Ind.) and lost by a score of 14-5. The Tigers took an early 3-0 lead, thanks to an Alyssa Garcia (L.A. Verne, Calif.) single that brought a runner home in the first inning. After the Lancers added two runs in the third inning, DWU took a 4-2 lead after Sierra Haage (Sioux Falls, S.D.) smacked a homerun over the left field fence. But, Grace used three runs in the fifth inning and nine runs in the sixth inning to down the Tigers.
Andriana Sprakel (Yankton, S.D.) went 3-for-4 in the game with two RBIs, as Garcia finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Haage went 2-for-2 in the game with an RBI and a homerun, while picking up the loss on the mound. She struck out three batters and allowed two earned runs.
In the second game of the day, the Tigers could not muster a run as they fell to Indiana Wesleyan University, 18-0. The Wildcats used a six-run first inning and a nine-run third inning to push past DWU in the contest. Stephanie Gabel (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Kindra Clark (Garretson, S.D.) each finished 1-for-2 at the plate. Devany Farris (Cheyenne, Wyo.) was tabbed with the loss after pitching three innings.
In the final game of the day, the Tigers fell to Missouri Valley College 6-2. Trailing 3-0, Haage hit a double into left field, bringing two runners home, making it a 3-2 ballgame. However, the Vikings tallied three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the game from the Tigers. Garcia and Karly Severance (Las Vegas, Nev.) each went 2-for-3 at the plate in the game, while Haage finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Andrea Konz (Mitchell, S.D.) pitched three innings and allowed three earned runs in the contest.
In the opening game the next day, DWU fell to the University of St. Francis (Ill.) 13-5. The Tigers added a run in the first inning, third inning and fourth inning. In the top of the fifth inning, Severance smacked a two-run homerun over the center field fence, making it a 6-5 game in the favor of the Fighting Saints. But, St. Francis extended its lead after adding seven runs in the next three innings. Severance finished 1-for-3 with a homerun and two RBIs, while Garcia went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Alyson VanderPol (Mitchell, S.D.) was tabbed with the loss. She struck out a batter in the loss.
In each of their next two games, the Tigers lost 9-0 to Aquinas College, and 9-0 to Olivet Nazarene University. Against Aquinas, senior Paige Kinley (Worthington, Minn.) went 1-for-1, while Sprakel finished 1-for-2. In the second game against ONU, Sprakel, Konz and Amber Budmark (Sacramento, Calif.) each finished 1-for-2 at the plate. Farris pitched three innings in the game and struck out two batters.
In the final day of the Tucson Invitational, DWU began the day against Siena Heights University and lost 15-14. The bats were hot to begin the game as Gabel doubled, bringing three runners home. In the second inning, Melysia Ortega (West Covina, Calif.) launched a three-run homerun to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. But, the Saints came storming back as they added six runs in the third inning. DWU had the answer as Severance hit a two-run homerun to extend the lead to 10-6. In the top of the fifth, Sprakel hit a two-run single, followed by a Budmark homerun that gave the Tigers a 14-6 lead. However, Siena Heights finished the game with nine runs in the final three innings to down DWU.
Ortega finished 1-for-3 with four RBIs and a homerun, while Severance finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a homerun. Budmark added three hits at the plate along with two RBIs, as Sprakel went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Haage took the loss on the mound as she pitched one and a third innings, allowing five earned runs.
DWU finished the week on top as the offense got rolling, defeating Roosevelt University 13-1. It was a huge second inning as Katelyne Dougherty (Maui, Hawaii) got things going with a single to second base, bringing home a runner. Next, Konz singled to center field, bringing home another run. Haage nailed a three-run homerun, giving the Tigers eight runs in the second inning. The Tigers added run in the third inning, three runs in the fourth inning and a run in the fifth to secure the victory.
Haage was a perfect 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a homerun, while Dougherty finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Haage picked up the victory as she pitched five innings, striking out three batters and allowing no earned runs.
The Tigers return home for their home opener and Great Plains Athletic Conference opener against Briar Cliff University at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Mitchell, S.D.