Softball sweeps Lewis & Clark

The Whitworth women’s softball team did not surrender to the Spokane weather last weekend. After some shuffling of the schedule, the Pirates swept the Pioneers of Lewis & Clark College in four games at their home Diana Marks Field. “The girls like to play at home,” head Coach Cristal Brown said. “We don’t get an overabundance of opportunities to do that, so it makes them proud.”

The Bucs played proud, too. Whitworth’s bats were explosive with 46 hits on the weekend.

In six innings in Sunday’s first game, the Bucs dominated the Pioneers 9-1. Freshman centerfielder Sacha Clow had two hits, two RBIs, and scored three runs. Senior second baseman Sami Parr’s RBI double gave the Pirates a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning. Junior centerfielder Heather Hesselgesser, senior catcher Ashley Greig, and Parr all had two hits in the game. Freshman pitcher Taylor Gilbert pitched a complete game allowing three hits.

Lewis & Clark battled in Sunday’s later game, but the Bucs still pulled it out. Sophomore shortstop Caylan Haehl and Hesselgesser led Whitworth with three hits apiece. Hesselgesser also added two RBIs.

“Even when they started scoring some runs, we knew we were going to come back,” Brown said. “Hitting wise we were super confident.”

The Pirates entered the bottom of the seventh with the game tied. Clow batted in Hesselgesser for the winning run.

The series continued on Monday to make up for being unable to play due to field conditions on Saturday. The Pirates took the first game 8-4. Parr blasted two homers for Whitworth and scored three runs, while adding two RBIs. Hesselgesser and sophomore first baseman Julia Johnson also had three hits.

Whitworth finished out the weekend strong with a 14-6 routing of the Pioneers on Monday afternoon. The game was called off after five innings in respect of the NCAA 6-run rule, however Clow impressively still tied a school record with six RBIs, while Johnson added five more.  Junior designated player Jamie Brunner had three hits and a pair of RBIs.

“They’re learning how to come back after giving up after a few runs,” Brown said. “They’re learning how to win games and bats are on fire so those are all good ingredients to take forward.”

The Bucs, who improved to 17-15 over the weekend, travel to take on Willamette University in Salem, Ore., next Friday and Saturday.


Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

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Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Sami Parr, softball

Softball coach Cristal Brown said Sami Parr is the type of player you want on your side going into battle.

“She’s a hard worker, she’s determined, she’s competitive,” Brown said of the senior second baseman. “She has a never-say-die attitude.”

As a 4-year-old, Parr begged her parents to put her on a  tee-ball team so she could keep up with her older brother who was a baseball player. As she put it, she fell in love with the game and has been playing ever since.

Now a senior leader on the Whitworth softball team, Parr acknowledges she didn’t necessarily see herself several years ago where she is today. Upon applying and being accepted to Whitworth on somewhat of a whim, she was offered the opportunity to play the game she loves.

“I just really liked the mission of the school; it really hit home for me,” Parr said. “The opportunity to get a great education and play the sport I love was an opportunity I couldn’t really pass up.”

Last year as a junior Parr was named to the honorable mention All-Northwest Conference squad. She led the Pirates in total runs scored on the season — an accomplishment she is on track to repeat this year. But Parr is recognized as a leader in more ways that just her play.

“She’s definitely a leader for us,” Brown said. “She’s not as vocal [and] you probably won’t hear Sami when you’re sitting in the stands, [but] the girls look to Sami because she leads by example. If you’re emulating Sami’s work ethic then you’re on the right track.”

Regardless of her individual achievements, Parr says one of her favorite things about playing softball is the teamwork.

“I love being a part of a team,” Parr said. “There’s really no other feeling like that. I love competing and being out on the dirt and leaving it all out there.”

Junior teammate Heather Hesselgesser reiterated Parr’s desire to be a team player.

“Sami leads by example; she is always giving her best effort and makes others want to do better,” Hesselgesser said. “She is a student of the game and understands the ins-and-outs better than any teammate I have ever had.”

After graduation, Parr plans to attend graduate school at Eastern Washington University to earn her doctorate in physical therapy. Until then, she wants to make the most of her final season. Contributing to wins is definitely an ambition, but Parr says her biggest goal right now is to make an impact on her team.

“I would just tell [younger players] to not have any regrets throughout their college career,” Parr said. “It’s going to be over before they know it. Put the extra hours in, don’t take anything for granted, try to make the most of it, practice hard every day.”

Those are the values that Parr has tried to build upon during her collegiate career.

“Sami has been a consistent and vital player every year here at Whitworth,” Hesselgesser said. “She is someone a coach would be proud to have representing their team.”

Brown would agree with that.

“Sami is a huge part of our team,” Brown said. “We’re going to miss her next year with her being a senior. She has the spirit you want to see in all of your athletes so it’s a joy to coach her.”

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

File photo by Chrissy Roach

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Softball battles PLU

The Whitworth softball team went 1-3 last weekend in its trip out to Tacoma, Wash. to take on the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes. Saturday was a rough start to the two-day series for the Bucs who failed to score a run on the day.  The Lutes got out to a quick start in Saturday’s earlier game and didn’t give the Pirates a chance to get back into it. Their 5-0 lead after the first inning had doubled by the fourth inning and the game was over by the fifth due to the mercy rule, the Lutes winning 12-0. Senior Sami Parr led the Bucs with two hits.

The second half of the day wasn’t much better for Whitworth. PLU exploded with nine runs and eight hits in the first two innings, once again leaving the Pirates in the dust. Parr led Whitworth again with two hits. PLU came out on top in another five-inning game posting a final score of 14-0.

The Pirates battled back in Sunday’s first game, however, it still wasn’t enough to overcome the dominant Lutes. Freshman pitcher Riley Fritz, after struggling in her appearances on Saturday, held PLU scoreless for the first three innings.

“She kept PLU on the ropes the whole day,” head coach Cristal Brown said of Fritz. “We’ll live and die by her in some regards.”

The Lutes caught their groove, though, in the fourth and built a 5-0 lead. Whitworth caught some momentum at the end of the game as junior designated hitter Jamie Brunner brought in the Bucs’ first run of the weekend. PLU won the game 5-1.

“We just got hammered on Saturday,” Brown said. “We had got hammered the weekend before and we were fed up.”  

Whitworth wouldn’t rollover for the final game of the series, though. The game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth when junior third baseman Heather Hesselgesser homered and brought Brunner in with her. PLU answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore right fielder Makenzie Hope scored in the fifth, then Hesselgesser batted Brunner in once again to earn another run in the sixth. Parr and freshman center fielder Sacha Clow scored in the seventh and PLU’s late three-run rally wasn’t enough to put away the Bucs. Whitworth came out on top, 6-5.

“I was super proud of the way the girls came out on Sunday,” Brown said. “They could have come out and rolled over and said ‘we’re not supposed to win.’ It says a lot about the team character and the team fight and what they can do together as a team when they become determined.”

Next weekend Whitworth travels to Forest Grove, Ore., to take on Pacific University in another Northwest Conference matchup.

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

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