The Ottawa University softball team will need to win three games Friday to claim the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament in Great Bend.
Ottawa fell 5-0 Friday afternoon to Kansas Wesleyan in the winner’s bracket final. Ottawa (26-20) will need to defeat Tabor and then top-seeded Kansas Wesleyan twice to keep its season alive.
Ottawa and Kansas Wesleyan split during the regular season and are the top two seeds in the tournament. The winner advances to the NAIA World Series.
Ottawa opened the tourney Thursday with a 3-0 win over McPherson and a 9-7 victory over Bethany, which swept the Lady Braves last week in the KCAC finale.
Ottawa could not get the offense or the defense untracked against Wesleyan. The Lady Braves had three hits and finished with five errors.
Kansas Wesleyan scored four runs on three errors in the fifth inning to snare the five-run cushion.
Ottawa used a gem from Gabby Markham to stop McPherson. She had 12 strikeouts and limited McPherson to one hit.
Lydia Budke went 2-for-3 to lead the Lady Braves.
Ottawa’s offense exploded against Bethany with four runs in the first and five in the third inning. Ottawa snared a 9-2 lead before Bethany closed it to 9-7 with four runs in the fifth inning.
Bethany had six straight hits in the rally.
Ottawa, which had not scored against Bethany this season, opened the game with back-to-back doubles. Budke’s double scored Alyssa Miller to tie the game at 1-1.
Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Markham, who struck out. The ball got away from the catcher and Budke scored. Valenzuela’s ground out plated a run.
Darin Lewis singled to score Ottawa’s fourth run.
Bethany scored again in the second inning to slice Ottawa’s lead to 4-2.
Ottawa’s bats came alive again in the third inning. Ottawa received RBI hits from Valenzuela, Savannah Taylor, Miller and Markham to take a 9-2 lead on the Swedes.
Bethany scored a run in the fourth inning to pull within 9-3. The Swedes made it a game with its rally in the fifth inning.
Paige Williams shut down the Swede offense in the final two innings
Markam, who won both games, tossed 4 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. Williams allowed just one hit.
Miller and Markham had two hits each. Valenzuela had two RBIs.