(Elgin, Ill./Larkin) drilled a two-out game-winning single to the left-centerfield gap in the bottom of the seventh inning of game one, sending Valpo to a 4-3 win, but two Centenary grand slams gave the Ladies the nightcap 12-5 Friday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
LaFerle's big hit came after Ann Sievert
(Davenport, Iowa/Assumption) reached on an error with one out in the inning, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. The senior streaked around the bases on LaFerle's liner, and slid around the tag of catcher Megan Hall with the winning run.
Before the late heroics, the Crusaders had built a 3-0 lead with the help of some shaky Centenary defense. After Taylor Callahan
(Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) singled to lead off the second inning, second baseman Lindsey Jones dropped the throw at first on Beth Adamski's
(Saint John, Ind./Lake Central) sacrifice attempt. Karen Korb
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) laid down one of her three sacrifice bunts to move the runners along, and after an intentional walk to Shannon Robinson
(Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond), Mallory Gill
(Beloit, Wis./Memorial) got the hosts on the board with a run-scoring single. The next batter, Ashley Wolter
(Denver, Iowa/Denver) looped a single into center to plate another run, and Sievert made it 3-0 when her long fly ball brought Robinson in from third.
The Ladies got on the board with a run in the fourth and tied the game in the sixth inning when, with a run already in, Robinson's pickoff throw to third with two outs skipped by the bag and into left field.
(Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) threw the game's first 3.1 innings, gave way to Stephanie Kelly
(Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) for 2.1 innings, and came back to record the final four outs and notch the win. Ashley Lail went the distance for the Ladies and took the loss.
(Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) started in the circle in game two, and was rudely greeted by shortstop Emerald Doria, who blasted the sophomore's second pitch out the park for her eighth home run. After three more singles in the inning, Lail lofted a sacrifice to the outfield to make the score 2-0.
In the third, Kelly took her turn in the circle, and just a her predecessor had, promptly served up a home run, this time to centerfielder Lauren Flowers. Three batters later, two doubles were in the scorebook and another run had crossed, pushing the Ladies' lead to 4-0.
But Valpo roared back in the bottom of third, showing off their own muscle at the plate. Sievert singled to lead off the inning, Korb followed her with a walk, and LaFerle drove Sievert home with a double to deep left-center. Next up was Callahan, and the junior tattooed the first pitch she saw over the wall in center, tying the game. Two batters later, Gill drilled one off that kissed off the top of the fence, popped straight up in the air, and landed over the wall for her second career home run, and a 5-4 Crusader lead.
The score remained 5-4 until the fifth, when the visitors put runners on first and second with one out. Pinch hitter Brittney Broussard then grounded a potential double-play ball to third, but Callahan could not field it cleanly and the bases loaded. Two batters later, Doria made Callahan and the Crusaders pay, sending a long fly out to center and putting Centenary up for good.
In the seventh, Flowers answered her teammate with a grand slam of her own, again capitalizing on a Crusader error that extended the inning. Zappia, who allowed both grand slams, took the loss to fall to 7-11, but did not allow an earned run. Lail (15-13) came on in the third and earned the win.
The split was the seventh consecutive doubleheader the Brown and Gold have split, and ninth in their last ten twinbills. Doria finished the day as the Ladies' (28-22, 10-8 Mid-Con) offensive star, going 3-for-7 with two homers, three runs scored and five RBI. Wolter led Valpo's 17-hit attack by going 3-for-6 out of the number nine hole.
The Crusaders (18-23, 5-9 Mid-Con) get another crack at Centenary Saturday afternoon, with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. The games will be aired on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics beginning at 8:00 p.m.
Game one box score
Game two box score