Rachel Henks has held a lock on the GPAC Softball Pitcher of the Week award for the last two weeks and does not appear ready to give up the title anytime soon.
Henks, named a repeat winner of the league’s pitcher of the week award earlier in the day, pitched back-to-back three-hit shutouts to lead tenth-ranked Morningside to GPAC sweep of visiting Northwestern by scores of 2-0 and 3-0 on Tuesday at the Jensen Softball Complex.
The reigning GPAC champion Mustangs improved their record to 26-7 and climbed to a league best 8-2 in the GPAC standings.
Henks struck out 10 batters in the opener and fanned four more batters in the nightcap to boost her season’s record to 21-5. Henks, who walked only one batter in the two games, faced three batters over the minimum in the first game and only one batter over the minimum in the nightcap.
The Mustangs scored all of their runs in the first game in the second inning and did all of their second game scoring when Mara Amsberry slugged a walk off home run with one out in the bottom of.
Red Raider starting pitcher Kayla Tindall retired the Mustangs’ first seven batters of the game in the opener before Amsberry smoked a double to left-center field with one out in the third inning. The Mustangs’ next hit wasn’t hit nearly as hard, but it did the job, when Tracey Edwards blooped a two-out double between the shortstop and left fielder that brought home Amsberry with the game’s first run. After a walk to Abby Conner, Rachel Koch delivered a RBI double that plated Edwards to put the Mustangs up 2-0.
The two-run cushion was all Henks needed as she mowed down the Red Raiders. After yielding a leadoff double to Madison Beaver to start the game, Henks kicked it into cruise control and set down the Red Raiders’ next nine hitters, including six by strikeout, before Jaclyn Smith led off the Northwestern fourth inning with a walk. Henks didn’t give up the Red Raiders’ second hit of the game until Brianna Petrauskas doubled with one out in the fifth inning.
Tindall allowed six hits in defeat. She walked three and struck out five.
Edwards, Koch and Amsberry all had doubles for Morningside, while Emilee Dorpinghaus, Allie Martinez and Elin Landgren each had singles.
Henks retired the Red Raiders first 10 batters of the second game before Jaclyn Smith singled with one out in the fourth inning.
Northwestern’s Morgan Means took a two-hitter into the seventh inning before the Mustangs’ offense finally broke through. Moriah Bohlmann led off the inning with a bad hop single past the Northwestern shortstop, then after a sacrifice bunt by Allie Martinez, the Mustangs had two runners on with one out when McKenzie Anderson reached base on an error by the shortstop. That set the stage for Amsberry, who ended the game with a home run to right-center for her first home run of the season.
The Mustangs will travel to Crete, Neb., on Friday for a GPAC doubleheader against Doane.