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Bradley softball hits well against in-state rival, falls to ranked Shockers

Pitcher Grace French throws a pitch. Photo courtesy of Bradley Athletics

In a see-saw-like weekend, Bradley softball split a pair, sweeping Western Illinois and outscoring the Leathernecks 14-2 and then being swept by Wichita State, getting outscored 13-3.

Overall, the team had a successful weekend demonstrating prowess in the batter’s box and in the pitcher’s circle.

In their first game of the tournament, Bradley played Western Illinois and won in dominating fashion by a score of 8-0 in which sophomore Abbott Badgley tossed a one-hitter. Badgley struck out five while also clubbing a double and a three-run homer.

“I think our games against Western, we proved how good of a team we can be when we execute and play how we know,” freshman Lauren DeRolf said. 

In the next game against the Leathernecks, Bradley scored a trio of runs in the first and third innings. Graduate Grace French picked up her first victory as she pitched a complete game and helped the Braves to a 6-2 win.

The Braves put on a clinic early and were led once again by Badgley, who hit her second home run of the season in the third inning. Other key contributors included junior Jordy van der Werf, sophomore Angela Cirone and DeRolf, who each got on base and scored.

“In terms of taking care of our games against Western Illinois, I thought we went out [and] we competed very well [and] put some runs on the board [and] had good performances in the circle and played pretty clean ball overall,” head coach Sarah Willis said.

Even in defeat, Bradley showed promise against No. 25 Wichita State, who has impressed this season at 16-3 so far.

“Facing No. 25 Wichita State was a great opportunity and we scored early in both games on opportunities [to] manufacture runs in a couple of different ways,” Willis said. “They’re a fantastic program historically, they’ve been that way so it was great to compete.”

The first matchup against the Shockers proved to be a tough game. Bradley managed to score it’s only run in the second inning due to a successful sacrifice bunt from Badgley. Wichita State, on the other hand, scored four runs in the fourth and fifth innings to win 4-1 over the Braves. Despite the loss, Badgley and French both had strong pitching performances, as French threw 4 2/3 innings and Badgley finished the game.

“The first game still is a 1-1 ballgame if we play clean ball and do the things I know we can do fundamentally on defense,” Willis said. “That being said, again, I think we hung really tough with them and saw some great performances against some great competition.”

In their second and final game against Wichita State, the Braves fell to the Shockers with a final score of 9-2. Despite the loss, the team fought hard early on, with DeRolf scoring the team’s first run in the top of the first inning and French hitting a double to score Welsh in the fifth. Badgley started in the circle once again, going 3 1/3 innings, before French came in to finish the game.

Hoping to improve their 7-11 record, Bradley softball will head down to St. Louis, Missouri to take on the Saint Louis Billikens and the Northern Illinois Huskies in the Saint Louis Opening Round Robin.

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