Bearcats Honor Seniors Bishop and Lancaster, Earn 20 Hits in Two Games

Danielle Koontz (So., OF, Cupertino, CA/Monta Vista HS)
Danielle Koontz (So., OF, Cupertino, CA/Monta Vista HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University honored Emily Bishop (Sr., OF, Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS/Pierce College) and Reanna Lancaster (Sr., P, Los Altos, CA/Mountain View HS) on Senior Day at the WU Softball Field on Saturday April 20, and then the Bearcats pounded 20 hits in a Northwest Conference doubleheader against George Fox University. GFU also hit the ball well, as the Bruins defeated the Bearcats, 13-11 and 12-8.

George Fox upped its record to 25-13 on the season, 17-10 in the NWC. Willamette completed its season at 7-32 overall, 6-22 in the NWC.

Danielle Koontz (So., OF, Cupertino, CA/Monta Vista HS) of Willamette went 3 for 3 with four RBIs in the first game and finished the day 4 for 5 overall with a run scored and five RBIs.

Bearcats Pull Within 12-11 after Six Innings, but Bruins Win Opener

Willamette moved in front 2-1 in the bottom of the first inning and held a 3-2 lead after two innings in the first game. GFU plated five runs in the third for a 7-3 lead and then kept fighting off Willamette's efforts to complete a comeback. The Bearcats trailed just 12-11 after six innings, but the Bruins scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh for a 13-12 win.

GFU scored one run in the top of the first. Vanessa Almaraz (Jr., OF, Simi Valley, CA/Simi Valley HS) of WU answered by hitting a two-run single with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom ofthe stanza. Willamette owned a 3-2 advantage after each team scored once in the second ining -- the Bruins on a solo homer by Savannah Vargas and the Bearcats on a bases-loaded ground out by Payten Healy (Fr., SS, Crescent City, CA/Del Norte HS).

The five-run third inning for the Bruins featured three singles, including a two-RBI hit by Alyssa Gonzalez and one-run hits by Aaliyah Kautz and Tanner Higgins. There were no errors during the inning, but GFU took advantage of two walks and two wild pitches.

Willamette earned a run in each of its next two at bats to pull within 7-5 after four innings. Koontz belted an RBI double in the third and Almaraz smacked an RBI triple in the fourth. Homers by Vargas and Katie Ladd in the top of the sixth gave GFU a 9-5 advantage, but Koontz hit an RBI single and Meghan Hook (Fr., C, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.

The Bruins appeared to gain control in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer by Allison Meyer and the third solo home run of the game by Vargas. George Fox held a 12-7 lead, but the Bearcats scored four times in WU's half of the sixth to cut the margin to 12-11. A hit batsman, two walks and one error helped the Bearcats. Koontz had the only hit during the rally, as her single to right field brought home Olivia Scott (Jr., C, San Francisco, CA/Lowell HS) and Cassie Cosler (Fr., 1B, Albany, OR/West Albany HS).

In the top of the seventh, Kautz belted a leadoff home run to left center to give GFU its final two-run cushion. Ashley Davis, who tossed the final 2 2/3 innings for the Bruins to earn a save, faced just three batters in the bottom of the seventh. For the Bruins, Vargas finished 3 for 5 with three homers. Kautz was 3 of 5 with a homer, three runs and two RBIs. The Bearcats were led by the 3-for-3 performance by Koontz, while Almaraz helped out by going 2 of 4 with a triple, one run and three RBIs.

Bruins Break 6-6 Tie in Sixth Inning, Win Second Game 12-8

The second game started with George Fox taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Willamette surged in front 4-2 in the second inning. The Bruins scored three times in the fourth inning, and extended their margin to 6-4 with one run in the fifth. Willamette tied the score with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth.

George Fox regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Vargas drove in the go-ahead run when she hit into a fielder's choice. The final two runs of the stanza crossed the plate on a single by Gonzalez. WU battled back within 9-8 by earning two runs in the second half of the sixth. Both runs scored on a double to left field by Jocelyn Glasgo (Jr., P/OF, Rochester, WA/Tumwater HS).

Three runs in the seventh gave the Bruins some breathing room. Kautz hit a solo homer with one out. Later, Meyer scored on a wild pitch and Gonzalez brought in the final run with a bases-loaded walk.

Willamette's four-run second inning was created with five hits, including RBI doubles by Koontz and Bishop. Almaraz stole home on a double steal to plate the first run. Glasgo hit an RBI single to bring home the fourth run. By the end of the game, Willamette had 11 hits, including five doubles. The Bearcats stole seven bases, led by Kelsey Wong (Fr., UT, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) with three steals and Almaraz with two.

Glasgo went 3 of 4 during the game with 3/4ths of the cycle on a single, double and home run. She scored once and earned four RBIs. Almaraz with 2 of 4 with a run, an RBI and a double. Wong also went 2 of 4 and scored once. Gonzalez led GFU by going 5 for 5 with a double, a walk, two runs and four RBIs.

Vanessa Almaraz (Jr., OF, Simi Valley, CA/Simi Valley HS)

Big Moment of the Day for Willamette

Vanessa Almaraz was 2 of 4 at the plate in both games. She
blasted a triple in the first game to go along with a run and
three RBIs. In the second game, she hit a double, scored once
and drove in one run. She stole three bases in the opener and
added two more stolen bases in the second game.