Softball: In first tournament of season, Northwestern falls to Stanford, rallies for 3 victories


Daily file photo by Meghan White

Junior Amy Letourneau struck out seven batters in three scoreless innings Saturday and added two hits and four RBIs at the plate. The Wildcats defeated New Mexico 10-0, part of a weekend during which they won three of four games.

Rebecca Friedman, Reporter

Northwestern competed in its first tournament of the season in fine form, taking three of four victories over the weekend

The Wildcats traveled to Tempe, Ariz., to play in the Kajikawa Classic against some of the top teams in the country. NU ended the classic with a 3-1 record, falling to No. 22 Stanford, 4-3, but rallying to notch victories against New Mexico, 10-0, Utah, 12-11, and Boise State, 13-2. 

The Cats opened the tournament Friday against the Cardinal with their first loss of the season. 

Stanford struck first with a three-run fourth inning burst before NU responded with three of its own in the fifth. However, the Cats were unable to hold off the Cardinal’s explosive offense and allowed another run in the fifth. Stanford was able to hold on to its one-run lead for the victory. 

Later that night, NU responded to the season opening loss as well as it could have. Against New Mexico, the Cats run-ruled the Lobos for a quick, five-inning victory. 

Junior starting pitcher Amy Letourneau was her usual impressive self on the mound and struck out four in the first inning. Just one of these batters reached base, on a wild pitch. 

The story in the victory, however, was NU’s offense. Drawing a multitude of walks and with big hits from Letourneau and sophomores Brianna LeBeau and Andrea Filler, the Cats continued to push runners in until they reached run rule territory and the game’s subsequent conclusion. 

“It just shows that all the work we put in during the offseason is paying off,” senior infielder Marisa Bast said. “Our preparation in on point and we’re able to execute as a team.” 

The team went into Saturday’s doubleheader with a chance to move above .500. In its third contest, NU earned the win in an unconventional way. After a six-run seventh inning from Utah, the Cats battled back from a three-run deficit and prevailed thanks to a walk-off illegal pitch during an attempted intentional walk by the Utes. 

While the final run was somewhat of a fluke, once again the Cats showcased their impressive offense throughout the contest.

That strong offense continued into the matchup against Boise State, as NU exploded for 11 runs in the first inning, a school record, en route to a run-rule victory over the Broncos.

“It was relieving for me because I didn’t have that much pressure on me,” said sophomore Kristen Wood, who was on the mound for the Cats. “It’s an awesome feeling to go out there with so many runs.” 

With a close loss to a ranked team and three impressive victories, the Cats are already off to a much better start this season than last year, when they went 0-5 in the Kajikawa Classic. 

“There’s just a few things we need to shore up,” Bast said. “We’re ready to get back to work and go on our next trip. We just need to always stay resilient and know we’re never out of the fight.”

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