Spring break was just around the corner for everyone on campus, which means a break from academics, a time to clean up, and the changing of the weather. What it means for the Plainswomen softball team is a time to get better at softball before the conference schedule comes rolling in. Before the break would come, NJC would have to travel to Otero to play the Rattlers for a four-game series.
The first game for the Plainswomen would be the done setter for the series. The Rattlers are a good ball team and setting the tone early on the road is how they can help themselves in the long run. The game would begin with the Rattlers taking a small 2-0 lead over NJC, which would not last long as the Plainswomen would tie it up in the top of two. The Rattlers would get one more run in the second abd third, giving them the 4-2 lead. In the fourth, Northeastern would get one back, to make it a one run game at 4-3. The Plainswomen have been known to either pour it on in an inning, or wait until the end to strike, and this game would be no different as they would put up three runs in the sixth, then another two in the top of seven giving them the 8-4 lead. The Plainswomen would need to hold strong in order for them to get the lead. In the final inning, Otero would start to make a comeback by scoring two runs, but would be stopped by Northeastern, giving the Plainswomen the 8-6 victory. Annaliese Cordova would lead the Plainswomen in RBI's with two, while Brooke King and Natalie Searle each had three hits.
The second game would be a game that would come down to the last inning. In the first two innings, the Plainswomen would take a quick 6-2 lead. That lead would last through the fourth inning, even with the Rattlers getting a run. In the bottom of five, Otero would score three runs and tie the game up 6-6. In the next inning, NJC would break that tie and take the one-run lead, but Otero would get hot and regain the lead by scoring three. In the final inning with Northeastern trailing 9-7, the ladies would put themselves in great position by scoring three and taking 10-9 lead. In the last half inning, the Rattlers would find a way to get a few points and win in walk-off fashion by scoring two runs. Top performers in that game would be Brooke King as she would get four RBI's, and Alicia Grauberger would have two RBI's.
The next day would be a new day, and the Plainswomen were looking for redemption. The ladies would find themselves trailing after the first inning 1-0, but then would take the 3-1 lead after the third inning. Things were looking good for Northeastern, as long as they could keep playing solid defense. In the fifth, they would stretch their lead a little more with another run, but would find themselves in a tie ballgame after the Rattlers would score three. The women knew they needed to break away from Otero, so they would help themselves out by getting two more runs in the last two innings. In the final inning, NJC would have the 6-4 lead and would look to take the one game lead over the Rattlers. But not wanting it to be over, the Rattlers would rally to get three, and edge out the Plainswomen 7-6.
The last game the women knew they needed to get it to get the weekend split, which would help them for road game wins. Getting a split at Otero would be huge in conference and would help them for post season rankings. With all that on the line, the geared up for the last game of the series. The game would start with both teams putting up a pair of runs to make it a 2-2 game. In the following inning, the Plainswomen would go scoreless and the Rattlers would double their lead with two runs, giving them the 4-2 advantage. As said before, the Plainswomen would do big things again by having two good innings by scoring five runs in the third and fourth innings. That lead would be short lived as OJC would have themselves a good inning by scoring fice themselves in the bottom of the fifth. The next two inning would be exciting just like the previous three games, as it would all come down to this. The sixth inning would be a momentum swing both ways as NJC would take the 10-9 lead, then trail by one as the inning would close. In the seventh and final inning, Northeastern would once again take the lead, with a score of 12-11. But the ending would not favor the Plainswomen as the Rattlers would get two runs and getting another walk-off win with a 13-12 score.
The ladies will have a little break before returning on Wednesday March 21 as they play the Western Nebraska Cougars.