Western Michigan softball kicked off its final series of the regular season over the weekend against Mid-American Conference rival Northern Illinois in Dekalb, IL. NIU won the series two games to one.
As the regular season ends, postseason play is right around the corner; The Broncos qualified for the MAC Tournament as the 8th and final seed and will take on 1-seed Miami in the first round.
The first game Friday afternoon was a hard fought battle by both teams as the game was sent into extra innings.
The two teams were in a stand still in the third inning, tied at two runs a piece all the way until the 11th inning. At the top of the 11th, Broncos third baseman Sophia Ehlers reached on a fielder’s choice which was just enough to bring in the run to give them a one run lead with Northern Illinois getting one more chance at the plate.
Northern Illinois made the most of their last opportunity in the bottom of the 11th, capitalizing on two RBI singles to ultimately win the game 4-3
Western Michigan’s MVP for game for the opening game was their starting pitcher Sydney Stefanick. Stefanick pitched the whole game throwing 10.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs on nine hits while sending down seven Huskie batters.
On Saturday, the two teams split a doubleheader with the Broncos, winning the first game and the Huskies winning the second.
The first game saw both teams put up huge offensive numbers as the Broncos took the game 8-7.
WMU came right out of the gate and scored the first run of the game thanks to an RBI single by Sydney Stefanick. The Broncos would close out the first inning with a 1-0 lead.
The second inning looked like a completely different ball game as Northern Illinois took complete control of the Broncos defense. Northern Illinois scored four runs in the second off of two RBI singles and two errors to make the score 4-1 Northern Illinois.
Going into the third, the Broncos were in a three run hole, but answered right back with some offense after a devastating second inning. WMU was able to score two runs off of a Northern Illinois error to now make it a 4-3 ball game.
The Broncos went into the top of the 5th inning down 5-3, but would regain the lead after Skyler Sobeski hit a three run bomb to put her team up 6-5. It was Sobeski’s first home run of the season.
The one run lead wouldn’t last as the Huskies would score off of a wild pitch in the bottom of the 5th to tie the game up 6-6.
After the 6th inning, the game was tied 7-7 thanks to an RBI single by Bronco second baseman Erin Barg.
Sydney Stefanick hit an RBI single in the top of the 7th to put the Broncos up 8-7. The Broncos defense would do the job in the bottom half of the inning and put together a win over Northern Illinois.
The third game would be a contest the Broncos don’t want to remember as they were shut-out by the Huskies 3-0.
The Broncos defense allowed eight hits. WMU tallied six hits themselves but struggled to get any runners to cross home.
Western Michigan finishes the year 18-26, clinching a berth in the MAC tournament.
WMU heads into the MAC tournament as the eighth seed in the conference and will head to Akron, Ohio, the host of the tournament to square off against the number one seed Miami Redhawks. First pitch is set for Wednesday, May 8 at 1 p.m. The tournament is will run until May 11.