The Valparaiso softball team concluded fall play with four wins and two losses. Leading the way for the Crusaders were sophomore pitcher Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.), who earned two victories, and sophomore catcher Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond H.S.), who ended fall play with a team-high .517 batting average.
The Brown and Gold started fall play by dropping a 6-3 decision to Saint Joseph's College. Halstead, a 2nd team All Mid-Continent Conference performer last season, took the circle for the Crusaders against Loyola (Ill.) and twirled a gem, leading Valpo to a 1-0 victory.
Next time out, the Crusaders found themselves in another 1-0 battle, but came out on the short end to South Dakota State. Halstead then earned her second win of the fall in a 4-2 win over Northern Illinois. Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central H.S.) secured the victory with her second save.
Freshman hurler Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield H.S.) toed the rubber for Valpo against Saint Xavier and threw a complete-game shutout as the Crusaders took a 1-0 decision. Kayla Grutz (Bellevue, Iowa/Bellevue H.S.) also picked up a victory for the Brown and Gold, allowing no earned runs over five innings in a 6-2 win over Robert Morris. Valpo led Ball State 2-0 in the third inning, but the game was called due to rain.
Offensively, Robinson led the way for Valpo, pounding out seven doubles and three triples to go along with her .517 average. Junior Taylor Callahan (Grayson, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian H.S.), a 1st team All Mid-Con selection last season, finished play with a .434 average and 11 RBIs. Also contributing in the lineup were senior Ann Sievert (Davenport, Iowa/Assumption H.S./Muscatine CC), sophomore Courtney LaFerle (Elgin, Ill./Larkin H.S.), and sophomore Maggie Seidel (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest H.S.), who each hit over .300 for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders return to the field next spring to begin 2006 play. Seven starting position players and two starting pitchers return for head coach Randy Schneider, as Valpo takes aim at getting back to the Mid-Con Tournament and bringing home the Mid-Con title.