Wolves’ Softball Team Finishes 2-4 in Missouri

ST. JOSEPH, MO (NSUWolves.com) –

FRIDAY

The Northern State University softball team dropped a pair of close games on their first day of the Hy-Vee Classic, falling to No. 18 Missouri Western State 6-5 and Northeastern State 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh. With the losses, the Wolves are now 13-7 overall in the 2017 season.

Game One – Missouri Western State

The Wolves were first to tally runs in the contest, tacking on three in the first half inning. Katelynn Dilts was hit by a pitch, Shayla Steinley singled to left field and Jenna Helgeson walked to load the bases. After a pair of strikeouts, Jamie Fisher walked a run in, followed by a single to left center by Rachel Albright to score two more.

The Griffons tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of the inning from an error, two singles, a stolen base and a double.

Northern State scored once again as freshman Shayla Steinley collected her second hit of the day to start the top of the third. Steinley advanced to third on a Jenna Helgeson double to center field. With two runners on, Kennady Thompson singled up the middle to score Steinley. Junior Katie Dawson followed with an RBI sac fly to right field.

Down by two, Northwest Missouri loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with one out, but the Wolves were able to escape the jam with the 5-4 lead.

The Griffons added runs in the fourth and the sixth innings off a pair of solo homeruns, capturing the one-run lead with just an inning left. The Wolves threatened with a base runner in the top of the seventh, however were unable to sneak a sixth run across and would fall 6-5.

NSU notched six team hits, led by Shayla Steinley with two. Kennady Thompson, Katie Dawson and Rachel Albright each connected for RBIs for the Wolves.

Albright recorded a no decision from the mound, while Jamie Fisher suffered her third loss of the year. Rachel Albright allowed eight hits and one earned run in three innings and Jamie Fisher gave up just two hits for two earned runs.

Game Two- Northeastern State

The two teams remained scoreless through the first three innings. Northern gained the lead first once again as Shayla Steinley singled down the left field line to lead off the top of the fourth. Jenna Helgeson followed with a double down the right field side to put two runners in scoring position. With two outs Jamie Fisher singled to score Steinley. Senior Rachel Albright added an RBI infield single to give the Wolves a two-run advantage.

Missy Elkins and the Northern State defense held the Riverhawks until the bottom of the seventh inning. Northeastern’s lead-off batter reached base with singled up the middle, and scored in the next at bat as Paige Gann hit a triple down the right field line.

Down by one, the RiverHawks connected for an infield single to tie the game. After the runner advanced to scoring position off a stolen base, Carlee Gann hit a walk-off single to left field to seal the 3-2 victory for Northeastern State.

Missy Elkins was handed her fourth loss on the mound, dropping to an even 4-4 on the year. Elkins held the RiverHawks to five hits, with three strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched.

From the plate, Northern State tallied five hits in 26 at bats. Sophomore Jamie Fisher led the way, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Shayla Steinley, Jenna Helgeson and Rachel Albright rounded out the NSU offense with one hit a piece.

SATURDAY

On day two of the Hy-Vee Classic, the Northern State University softball team earned a split, first falling to Northwestern State 7-0 and then bouncing back to defeat Central Missouri 4-3 in extra innings. The Wolves are now 1-3 from Missouri and 14-8 overall in the 2017 season.

Game One- Northwestern State

The Wolves struggled to score runs in their first game of the day, outhitting their opponent 8-to-7. Northern stranded runners four out of the seven innings, leaving eight on base total throughout.

Northwestern Missouri went up 3-0 in the top of the third off two doubles and two singles. The Bearcats added to their lead in the fourth with two walks, two errors and two base hits for four additional runs.

The score remained 7-0 in favor of Northwestern Missouri through the final three innings and the Wolves would suffer their third-straight loss.

Shayla Steinley, Katie Dawson and Courtney Sjerven each tallied two hits, followed by Katelynn Dilts and Madison Rutter with one a piece.

From the mound, Missy Elkins was handed her fifth loss of the year. Elkins allowed just three earned runs in four innings pitched with four strikeouts. Entering in relief, Rachel Albright held the Bearcats scoreless through the final three innings with three strikeouts.

Game Two – Central Missouri

Central Missouri took the early 2-0 lead in the top of the first off a walk, a stolen base and a pair of singles. Jenna Helgeson responded in the bottom of the inning by launching a two-run homerun to deep center to score freshman Shayla Steinley and herself, tying the game 2-2.

The Jennies took control of the lead in the top of the sixth after notching a run off a pair of singles, an error and a stolen base.

In need of a run in the bottom of the seventh, Katie Dawson connected for a single as the lead-off batter. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Jamie Fisher moved pitch runner, Anne Jonas, to second with senior Rachel Albright due up. With one out, Albright hit a line shot back to the pitcher and reached first base safely. With runners on the corners, freshman Madison Rutter lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at three runs all.

Continuing into extra innings with the international run rule, the Wolves shut down the Jennies 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. As the last out, Courtney Sjerven was placed on second base to start the bottom of the inning for the Wolves. Jamie Fisher advanced Sjerven to third on a sacrifice bunt in the following play. With Jenna Helgeson at the plate, Courtney Sjerven took off towards home on a wild pitch, beating out the throw and scoring the go-ahead run.

As a unit, Northern State recorded five team hits in 25 at bats. Rachel Albright led the Wolves with two hits, followed by Jenna Helgeson with two RBIs. Helgeson’s homerun marks her fifth of the season.

With the win, sophomore Jamie Fisher improved to 6-3 on the year from the mound. Fisher held the Jennies to just three earned runs with five strikeouts.

SUNDAY

In their final day from Missouri, the Northern State University softball team collected their second-straight split, defeating Nebraska, Kearney 4-2 and then falling to Missouri Southern State 3-2. The Wolves conclude the Hy-Vee Classic 2-4 and are now 15-9 overall in the 2017 season.

Game One- Nebraska, Kearney

The Lopers were first to threaten in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases off an error, a walk and a single. Jamie Fisher forced a groundout back to the mound to leave three runners on and hold UNK scoreless.

In the top of the second, Jamie Fisher led off with a single up the middle, followed by a walk from Kennady Thompson. After Courtney Sjerven advanced the runners to second and third, senior Lauren Kunz blasted a triple to right field to put the Wolves up 2-0.

Nebraska, Kearney responded to the two-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out double to right field. An infield single put runners on the corners with Macey Nelson at the plate. Nelson connected for an RBI single to cut Northern’s lead to just one run. A sacrifice bunt by Molly Stern then tied the game at 2-2.

In the Wolves’ final at bat, Shayla Steinley walked with one out. Jenna Helgeson and Katie Dawson followed with a pair of singles to give NSU the one-run advantage once again. Senior Rachel Albright tacked on another insurance run with an RBI infield hit to the shortstop.

Entering in relief, Missy Elkins held the Lopers in the bottom of the seventh to seal Northern State’s 15th win of the year.

The Wolves collected ten team hits in 31 at bats. Lauren Kunz led the Wolves going 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs, followed by Jenna Helgeson and Katie Dawson with two hits each.

Game Two – Missouri Southern State

Northern State got the bats going in the top of the third as freshman Shayla Steinley singled down the left field line. Steinley used her wheels to advance to second on a stolen base with Jenna Helgeson at the plate. Helgeson placed a base hit to right field to score Steinely and give the Wolves the 1-0 lead.

The Lions matched Northern’s runs in the bottom of the following inning. They connected for three back-to-back singles through the infield with one out. Bailey Skelton drew a walk to tie the game at 1-1, however Missy Elkins tallied a strikeout to leave three runners on.

Lauren Kunz walked to lead off the top of the fifth for the Wolves. Fellow senior, Katelynn Dilts, bunted to advance Kunz into scoring position for Shayla Steinley. Steinley launched a double over the head of the center fielder to give NSU the lead once again.

In the bottom of the sixth with one runner on, Sydney Koch blasted a homerun to left field to score what would be the game-winning run.

As a unit, NSU recorded eight hits in 27 at bats. Shayla Steinley led the team going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Jenna Helgeson connected for two hits.

Missy Elkins held the Lions to three earned runs, giving up nine hits in 27 batters faced. With the loss, Elkins drops to 6-6 from the mound.

The Wolves will host MSU Moorhead on Tuesday, March 28th from the Moccasin Creek Softball Complex in their first NSIC match-up of the 2017 season.