softball team honored its four seniors on Senior Day following Saturday’s
doubleheader against Cleveland State, but the Vikings
spoiled the day, taking the opener 6-2 before winning the nightcap 10-5.
The Vikings opened the
scoring in the opener in the second inning, scoring their first run without the
benefit of a hit. Mimi Mahon led off the
frame getting hit by the pitch, and with two outs Danielle Young reached via
error, and the Crusaders’ attempt to throw out Mahon at third base was wild, allowing her to
score the first run.
Senior Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) started
the game for the Crusaders in the circle and did not allow a hit through the
first three innings, but was roughed up by Cleveland State
in the fifth. A double steal and an RBI
single plated the first two runs of the frame, and the Vikings added a
sacrifice fly, an RBI groundout and also scored a run on a wild pitch after Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa,
Township) relieved Kelly with nobody out in the inning.
Cleveland State led 6-0 after its half of the fifth, but the
Crusaders quickly responded in their turn at bat. Jill
Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) led off the inning with a
single that dropped in down the right field line. Two batters later, Sara Strickland (Phoenix,
Ariz./Horizon) hit a shot to
straight-away center that cleared the fence for her fourth home run of the
season, cutting the Viking advantage to 6-2. But the Crusaders could only get one hit over
the final two innings as CSU held on for the win.
Kelly took the loss in the
opener for Valpo, allowing four earned runs in her four-plus innings of work as
she fell to 8-8 on the season. Amanda
Macenko earned the complete-game win for the Vikings, scattering seven hits to
improve to 24-11.
The nightcap saw Cleveland State jump out to a quick lead in the
top of the first, as Christina Stoffer scored on a wild pitch. But Valpo answered immediately, as senior Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran)
and Strickland led off with back-to-back singles. After the duo moved up on a sacrifice bunt, Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance,
hit a foul pop-up that CSU’s catcher caught.
But Korb, recognizing that nobody was covering home, tagged up and
successfully scored, and the catcher’s throw sailed high, allowing Strickland
to come around and score as well.
Valpo wasn’t done in its half
of the first yet, as senior Ashley
Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) kept the inning
alive with a single up the middle on a full-count pitch. Wolter then proceeded to steal second before Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington)
dropped in a two-strike double to left center, plating Wolter to put the
Crusaders ahead 3-1.
But Valpo’s lead was
short-lived, as the Vikings put up four runs in their half of the second,
capped by a three-run homer by Stoffer.
CSU added a single run in the fourth and four more in the sixth to
extend its advantage to 10-3. Jacobson
and Korb hit back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh to cut
the deficit to five runs, but Valpo was unable to draw any closer, as the
Vikings completed the sweep of the twinbill.
Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher)
fell to 4-5 after taking the loss for Valpo in the nightcap, starting and
throwing the first 1.2 innings. Brittany
Bate improved to 4-3 after throwing a complete game in the circle for Cleveland State (30-15, 18-5 Horizon).
Valparaiso (24-21, 9-10 Horizon) closes the regular season at
the Valparaiso University Softball Field on Sunday with a single game at noon
State. The game can be heard live on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso, and online at
www.valpoathletics.com, which will
also have a link for live stats. It will
be Youth Day, with all youths receiving a team photo for an autograph session
after the game. It is also ‘Think Pink’
Day, as the Crusaders will honor breast cancer survivors and will be offering
$10 pink t-shirts for purchase to benefit the Porter County Cancer Society.