The McPherson College softball team moved to 23-17 overall and 8-6 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference with a doubleheader split against York College Friday afternoon at Bulldog Park.
The Panthers took game one, 4-3, behind a Samantha Adami 3-run blast in the sixth inning, while the Bulldogs picked up a 6-0 shutout in game two.
Game 1 --- York 4, McPherson 3
McPherson struck the initial blow in the opener, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning as Chelsea Conrad blasted a one-out triple to right-center, then came in on a Maile Deutsch RBI ground-out.
York evened the ledger in the top of the third when Maricela Romero drove in Briana Walter with a single to shallow left. The Panthers had the bases loaded with two outs in the frame but could not push across another run as Lia Hamamoto popped out to third baseman Amanda Connell near the pitcher's circle.
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to counter in the bottom half of the inning as Taylor Hires-Caulk and Jessica Jones both reached. York was able to get out of the jam, though, as Conrad struck out and Deutsch and Jenna Christensen both hit into fielder's choices.
McPherson regained the lead with two runs in the fifth. Connell led off with a double down the right-field line, then scored when York committed a throwing error on a Hires-Caulk sacrifice attempt. Hires-Caulk moved around to third when Jones bunted for a base hit, but was tagged out in a rundown as Deutsch reached on a fielder's choice. Jones came across later in the frame on a Christensen RBI single to right.
York surged back with three runs in their next at-bat. Hamamoto led off the sixth with a single to shallow right, then pinch-runner Alyssa Ruiz moved around to third on a Walter single three batters later. Both runners scored moments later as Adami sent a 2-2 offering from Christie Betker over the fence in left field.
The Bulldogs left one runner on in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Ciera Montalvo scattered seven hits and a walk over six innings while striking out six to get the win. Alysia Rodriguez allowed a one-out single in the seventh en route to the save.
Betker took the loss in the circle for McPherson, allowing eight hits and walking one while striking out eight.
Jones, Conrad and Christensen each had two hits for the Bulldogs.
In addition to Adami's blast, Romero finished with two hits and an RBI and Walter had two hits and two runs scored.
Game 2 --- McPherson 6, York 0
McPherson jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead after two innings to seize control of game two. The Bulldogs scored three runs in the bottom of the first as the first four hitters of the frame reached safely. The string was capped by a bases-loaded walk issued to Christensen for the first run of the game. Two batters later, Conrad was forced out at home on a Destiny Bacon squeeze bunt. Taylor Perez followed with a fielder's choice to a charging Adami at third base that scored Deutsch, while Christensen came in when Adami's throw to the plate ended up at the backstop.
Jones gave McPherson its fourth run when she scored on a double steal in the second.
The Bulldogs added a run in the fourth when Conrad drove in Erica Almaraz with an RBI triple and another in the sixth when Jones scored on a Deutsch sacrifice fly but left the bases loaded in the fifth without pushing a run across.
The Panthers had an opportunity to eat into McPherson's lead in the top of the sixth after loading the bases with just one out courtesy of a pair of singles and a Bulldog error. Walter popped out to Bacon at shortstop for the second out, then Bacon made a diving stop on an Adami scorcher bound for the outfield. While still laying on her stomach, Bacon made the toss to Hires-Caulk at second base to force out Mikayla Lawrence for the final out of the inning.
Katy Wilson scattered nine hits and a walk while striking out two en route to the shutout victory.
After getting the save in game one, Rodriguez started game two and took the loss after allowing five runs on six hits and a pair of walks in four innings. Anissia Munoz gave up one run on five hits over the final two innings for York.
Jones had three hits, scored three runs and stole a pair of bases, while Conrad added three hits - including a triple - and drove in a run. Christensen had two hits, while Almaraz recorded a double for McPherson's only other extra-base hit.
Lawrence had three hits to lead the Panthers offensively,while Laura Leos had two hits, including a double.
Following the games, the team's three seniors - Connell, Hires-Caulk and Valerie Romero — were recognized for their contributions to the McPherson College softball program.
The Bulldogs return to the diamond Wednesday when they close out their 2018 home slate by hosting Bethel College (16-17, 7-7 KCAC). First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. from Bulldog Park.