Seventh-ranked Kirkwood showed its strength in a 15-1, 13-2 doubleheader sweep of the Southwestern softball team Monday on a windswept Spartan diamond.
“They’re good,” said SWCC coach Lindsay Stumpff. “They have every right to be ranked seventh in the nation. We just didn’t hit at all. We were not going up to bat with a purpose. Their pitching was good, but not like last year.”
Stumpff said it was the wrong day to have a shorthanded team, but that was the case as freshman pitcher Sam Strand was unavailable because of an injury suffered Sunday, and shortstop Katrina DeVore left with illness before the second game.
Adding to the problems, outfielder Molly Schimp was hit on the jaw by a flyball. So, Katey Gambrel entered the game in right field, Hannah Murphy moved to the infield at second and Ashley Gibbs filled in at shortstop for DeVore.
Danielle McIntosh had a rough outing in the opener, issuing three walks in the first inning. The second inning started with a walk and one of three Kirkwood home runs on the day.
“Sam Strand split open the ring finger on her pitching hand on a one-hopper back to her on Sunday,” Stumpff said. “So Jill Vanderhoof (of Villisca), who had pitched some in high school, came in. I give her tons of credit for doing what she did without warming up as a pitcher at all.
“McIntosh came back and started the second game. She had a little more control, but it was really tough to pitch in that weather. The wind was right in her face after it shifted. Defensively we did not adjust well to how the wind changed.”
The only hits by Southwestern in the second game were a double by Peyton Russell and singles by Strand and Emma Ferrin. Brooke Wolf doubled in the opener, with DeVore and Murphy hitting singles.
Kirkwood improved to 25-5 overall and 8-1 in the ICCAC. SWCC, now 11-6 and 5-5, is scheduled to play at DMACC on Wednesday. That precedes a trip to Columbus, Neb., for a doubleheader against Central Nebraska Thursday and tournament action hosted by Central on Friday and Saturday. Division I Muscatine is the opponent on Friday and a hot Indian Hills team faces Southwestern Saturday.
“It’s a challenging week,” Stumpff said. “Hopefully we can get everybody back on track.”