Valparaiso matched a program record for runs in a single game to cap off a Horizon League doubleheader sweep at Detroit The Crusaders took the opener, 10-0, before exploding for an 18-2 win in the nightcap. Junior KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) matched Crusader single-game records, which go back a dozen years, with four hits and six RBIs in the second game. on Friday afternoon.
The 18-run output matched the effort in an 18-7 win over Notre Dame a quarter-century ago on April 20, 1985. The Crusaders put up multiple runs in all five innings of Friday’s record-setting win, including five-run innings in the second and fifth frames. Valpo’s 18 hits in the nightcap also set a new single-game mark for the dozen years that records are available.
“Regardless of who we play, we have to go out and play hard,” said Crusader head coach Randy Schneider. “That’s what we’ve been trying to get our team to do and they’ve really responded to it over the past few games. This has been a great opportunity to get all our players some time either pitching or hitting and playing the field, and every player is responding and playing well. We are playing some very good softball as a team right now, and we just have to continue doing that.”
Boldt earned a rare starting assignment in left field in the second game and took advantage to break out with a career game, tallying RBI singles in each of her first three at-bats before capping her tremendous 4-for-4, 6-RBI day with a no-doubt 3-run homer to center field in the fifth inning. The junior had entered Friday’s action with just three career hits and four career RBIs.
“We’re all very proud of the job KC did for us today,” said Schneider. “She dealt with illness in the early stages of this season and really is just rounding back into form. She stepped in today when we called on her to start and obviously had an incredible day. I thought Tori hit the ball very well as well that second game, and Sadie had a tremendous day in both games. We moved Sadie into the four-hole in the lineup a few games back, and she has really taken that responsibility on well.”
Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) and Kelsey Phalen (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) got the Crusaders off to a strong start in the nightcap. Conner tallied an RBI double in the first inning and Phalen an RBI groundout to give Valpo a 2-0 lead after one frame. Following Boldt’s first RBI single, Conner tallied a two-run double and Phalen followed by turning on a high pitch for a two-run homer to left-center field to push the Crusader advantage to 7-0.
Boldt picked up another of her RBI singles in Valpo’s next at-bat, with a three-run homer by Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) capping a four-run third inning to make it 11-0 Valpo. Detroit answered with two runs in its half of the third, but Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) produced an RBI double and Boldt her third RBI single of the game in the top of the fourth to make it an 11-run game again. Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) and Lisa DeBruzzi (Carlisle, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) each tallied RBIs in the fifth inning before Boldt’s three-run bomb capped the scoring.
Conner went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs in the nightcap, while Phalen and Rutkowski each also drove in three runs. Brown went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Marinec also had a three-hit performance. In the circle, Jill Jacobson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) struck out three hitters in 1.2 innings of work in her starting assignment, while Amanda Bolton (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon [Arizona]) and Shaleigh Jansen (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa Township) each saw work as well at pitcher. The latter earned the victory to improve to 4-3, throwing 2.1 innings of one-hit ball while striking out five batters. Stefanie Morong took the complete-game loss for Detroit, falling to 0-4.
The opener saw Valpo take the lead in the top of the first thanks to a two-run long ball to left-center off the bat of Conner. But that would be the only output for the Crusaders in the first three innings, as Detroit hurler Anna Bondy shut them down early. Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) kept Valpo in the lead, however, allowing just one baserunner in the first three frames.
The Crusaders finally got the offense going in the fourth, putting up four runs on four hits while also taking advantage of a couple of Titan errors. DeBruzzi picked up an RBI infield single, while Jacobson and Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) posted back-to-back RBI doubles later in the inning. The final inning brought four more Valpo runs across the plate to cap the scoring, as Jennifer Hermanson (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) drew an RBI walk, Strickland tallied an RBI groundout and Joylyn Ichiyama (Torrance, Calif./Redondo Union) added an RBI single.
Conner, DeBruzzi, Ichiyama and Phalen all had multi-hit games in the opener, while Conner also scored three runs and drove in two. The junior third baseman closed the day 5-for-7 with five runs scored, five RBIs and four extra-base hits. Lagesse earned the win in the circle, improving to 9-3 after striking out five in four innings of work, while Carrie Franson (Arlington, Wis./Poynette) closed out the game with a hitless inning in the fifth. Bondy took the loss for Detroit (2-15, 0-5 Horizon), falling to 2-6 this year, but gave up just two earned runs in her four innings.
Valparaiso (22-7, 4-0 Horizon) closes out the three-game series against the Titans with a single game on Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT. Live stats and live chat will be available for the game at www.valpoathletics.com.