Softball team brings out the brooms in sweep over Centenary College to clinch a SCAC playoff spot

It’s been a hard season full of uncooperative weather for the softball team, but that didn’t stop them from taking on conference rival Centenary College last weekend. The women played a doubleheader Friday and another one on Saturday, winning all four games to finish off their regular season home games and improve to 14-16 on the season and 8-6 in conference.

The Tigers got at it quickly in game one on Friday, plating one run in the first and six more in the second to jump to a 7-0 lead. The next run would come in the bottom of the sixth inning by Trinity, leading to a run-rule. Earning the shutout was junior pitcher Kaci Wellik, who only allowed four hits, one walk and six strikeouts. Friday’s win bumped Wellik’s record to 7-6. First baseman senior outfielder Lauren Mercado going 3-3 at the plate with one RBI off of a sacrifice fly and scored two runs of her own as well provided much of the firepower for the Tigers. Junior second baseman Katie Castillon and sophomore center fielder Mackenzie Hill each went 2-2 with a run and RBI each.

The second game brought just as much success, as the Tigers won 9-4. Both teams jockeyed for position through the first few innings with scoring starting immediately with a two-run blast by Mercado in the first and a solo shot from designated player Caitlynn Dykes, senior, in the third.  In the fourth, Dykes hit a two-run double that gave Trinity a 6-4 lead. The Tigers never looked back after that inning as they added several more runs in the sixth to secure the 9-4 victory.

After pitching in game one, Wellik was called on as relief in the seventh. With the bases loaded and no outs, Wellik showed her arm was still hot from earlier, striking out the side to prevent any runs and pick up the save.  Early relief pitcher Katie Glomb, sophomore, improved to 3-3 with the win, only allowing one unearned run, four hits and two strikeouts. Trinity’s offense flourished as they racked up 12 hits and only three strikeouts.

The Friday games were shortened since the Tigers run-ruled Centenary in both games.

On Saturday, scoring in game one started early for Trinity, with one run coming in the first and an additional four in the second. Centenary retaliated with a run of their own in the third but Trinity scored four more hits to go 9-1 by the end of the inning. That was all that was needed to close out the game.

Castillon got the start, giving up one earned run off three hits, a walk and a strikeout, improving to 3-7 on the season. Dykes, Mercado, Hill and senior right fielder Brittany Haby combined for 8-10 at the plate with six runs and seven RBI.

Game two was as impressive as game one, as the Tigers finished the sweep with a 9-0 win.

Glomb got the start and earned her second shutout of the season, improving to 4-3. Glomb gave up a mere three hits with four strikeouts.

“Coming into the game, I knew I had to work ahead in the count to be successful, so I focused on that mainly. I trusted my defense to make the plays we needed to, and they didn’t disappoint,” Glomb said.

In the five-inning run-ruled game, offense continued to surge. Dykes, Mercado, Hill and Haby went 7-11 with two runs, seven RBI and a walk. Hill individually provided three hits off three at-bats with two runs and four RBI. Second baseman Sara McCarty went 1-1 with a walk and scored both times she got on base.

For seniors Dykes, Haby and Mercado, this series marked the final home games of their Trinity careers. The team made sure they finished on a high note with the four wins and all three women got at least one hit in both games Saturday.

“I felt really loved and appreciated by my teammates and our softball fans, which only made me more excited for the rest of the season and the chance for redemption at the SCAC tournament,” Haby said.

The Tigers will close the regular season with another four-game series at Southwestern University tomorrow, April 18, and Sunday, April 19.

Thanks to the first win last Saturday, Trinity clinched a spot in the SCAC Tournament, which will be at the end of the month at Schreiner University.

“My expectation for the SCAC is for my team to just play at the top of their game,” said head coach Brandi Crnkovic. “We’ve been steadily improving and learning from every opportunity given, and I would just like to see them play the best they are capable of. If they do that, we have a great chance to be successful.”