STERLING — The Bethel College softball team is back in business in its hopes for a post-season berth after a doubleheader sweep of Sterling Saturday in KCAC play in Sterling.
Bethel downed the Warriors 6-5 and 9-6.
The wins put the Threshers at 17-20, 8-12 in the KCAC. Bethel holds a one-game lead over Bethany for eighth place in the conference with two games remaining for each team. The top eight teams advance to the KCAC post-season tournament, which begins May 3 in Great Bend.
Bethel set a new record for conference wins in the season, breaking the previous record of six. Bethel already set the school record for overall wins in a season.
In the first game, Bethel scored three runs in the top of the third. Madison McDowell grounded out to drive in a run. Alyssa Sullivan added a two-run home run. Rylie Scudder added a two-run single in the fourth.
Sterling came back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth on RBI doubles by Dominique Salgado, Nicole Flatley and Tobi Salzman.
Miranda Escalera hit an RBI single for Sterling in the bottom of the fifth.
Katie Schrag hit an RBI single for Bethel in the top of the seventh. Escalera hit a sacrifice fly for Sterling in the bottom of the seventh for the second out. Salgado flew out to left field to end the game.
Scudder went the distance for Bethel for the win, allowing four earned runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Hannah Loudermilk took the loss for Sterling in relief of Whitney Long. Diosdado struck out four batters in four innings.
Scudder and Samantha Karten each finished two for three hitting for Bethel. Sullivan went two for four. Salzman and Jenna Weimer each went two for three hitting for Sterling.
Bethel tried to throw the knockout punch early in the second game with six runs in the top of the first. Sullivan hit a sacrifice fly. Katie Schrag hit an RBI single. Michelle Schrag hit a two-run double. Krystin McKelpin finished things off with a two-run home run.
Sterling got up off the canvas and fought back with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Nicole Flatley hit an RBI single. Morgan Coslor drove in a run with a double. Jenna Weimer hit a two-run single.
An error led to a Bethel run in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth, Salgado hit a two-run shot.
In the top of the seventh, Kayla Sparkman drove in a run on a single. Scudder doubled to drive in a run. Sterling put two runners on base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but a pop out to Michelle Schrag at shortstop ended the game.
McDowell was credited for the win pitching, allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Scudder finished the game for the save, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Byanka Diosdado took the loss for Sterling. Allison Montion and Mia Luques finished the game.
McDowell, Leile Hoffman, McKelipn and Karten each had two hits for Bethel. Jessica Munoz, Miranda Escalera, Salgado and Tiah Grass each had two hits for Sterling.
Sterling falls to 17-29, 5-15 in KCAC play. The losses knock the Warriors out of playoff contention.
Bethel hosts Kansas Wesleyan at 2 p.m. today at Allen Wedel Field in the regular-season finale and senior day. A split against the 29-14 Coyotes or a pair of Bethany losses to 31-8 Friends clinches a post-season spot for the Threshers.
Scudder (W, 7-1) and K.Schrag; Long, Loudermilk (L, 5-5) 3, Diosdado 4 and Elliott, Flatley 4. HR - B: Sullivan (1).
McDowell (W, 5-11), Scudder (S, 5) and K.Schrag; Diosdado (L, 9-16), Montion 1, Luques 7 and Flatley. HR — B: McKelpin (3). S: Salgado (4).