Crusaders Blank IPFW; Sweep Home Opener
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Three Valpo pitchers held IPFW scoreless in 14 innings Thursday, and Allison Whitesell (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) provided the dramatics with a walk-off single in game two as the Crusaders swept their home opener 2-0 and 1-0 from the Mastodons Thursday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.

Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) earned both wins for the Crusaders, whose hurlers recorded nearly as many strikeouts (7) over the two games as hits allowed (8). Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) got the start in the opener and went the first 3.1 innings, while Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) set down the first nine batters in game two and went 5.1 innings. Zappia improved her season record to 3-5.

Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) sparked the Valpo offense in the third inning of game one, singling to lead off before swiping second base. Two batters later, Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) doubled over the head of centerfielder Beatrice Pedraza, scoring Korb and earning Robinson her team-leading 15th RBI of the year.

Zappia escaped a major jam when she entered game one with the bases loaded and one out in the next half inning. The sophomore kept Valpo in front by punching out the first two batters she faced on her way to a four-strikeout game.

The Brown and Gold struck again in the fourth off starter Katie Aspegren (2-8). Ann Sievert (Davenport, Iowa/Assumption) singled to lead off, moved to second when Beth Adamski (Saint John, Ind./Lake Central) walked, and took third on a wild pitch. Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) brought Sievert home on a ground-out to the right side.

As the temperature began to fall, both teams saw their bats go cold in the second game, with Halstead and Jenna Connelly whipping through the first two and a half innings without allowing a hit. Mallory Gill (Beloit, Wis./Memorial) smacked the game's first hit to left in the Crusader third, and the Mastodons finally broke through with a threat in the fourth.

After nine straight had been retired, Halstead loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, setting the stage for Michelle Meighen. But Meighen could not deliver, flying out the Korb in center, and the game remained scoreless.

Again the bats went cold, and by the time the bottom of the seventh rolled around only one hit, an IPFW double, had been added to the board. With two outs, Alicia Ashburn (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) roped a triple down the right field line, just beyond a diving Nancy Herron. That set the stage for Whitesell, whose bloop single to left sent the Crusaders home winners.

The wins snapped Valpo's season-high seven-game losing streak, while the Mastodons (3-21) pushed their losing streak to five.

The Crusaders (8-12) continue an eight-game homestand Friday afternoon against conference rival Oakland, with first pitch of their doubleheader scheduled for 2:00 p.m. The two clubs will meet for two more games Saturday afternoon starting at 12:00 p.m. All four games can be heard live on 95.1 FM, WVUR, and online at

Game one box score
Game two box score