The Valparaiso softball team broke out its bats in game one of a Horizon League doubleheader at Detroit on Saturday, hitting two grand slams as part of a four-homer performance in a 12-1 victory. The Titans turned the tables on the Crusaders in the nightcap, taking the day’s second game by a 9-0 score.
Valpo got on the board immediately in the opener. The Crusaders had just one hit in the top of the first, but it came in the form of a two-out grand slam from freshman Janelle Bouchard (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) after a trio of free passes had loaded the bases. The Titans cut one run off the deficit in their half of the first on a solo homer from Alyssa Schaub.
Neither team would score in the next two innings, but Valpo found single runs in both the fourth and fifth frames to push the lead to 6-1. Senior Tori Brown (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) reached base on a double to the wall in right field in the fourth inning, eventually scoring on an RBI base knock from junior Amanda Wisniewski (Skokie, Ill./Huntley). Then in the fifth, after the first two Crusader batters were retired in order, redshirt junior Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) stepped up and smacked a line-drive round-tripper over the fence just right of center field to make it a five-run game.
The Crusaders then put a crooked number on the board in the sixth to secure the run rule shortened victory. An error, a single and a walk loaded the bases for Valpo with one out, and Marinec worked a five-pitch walk to drive in the first run of the inning. Junior Amanda Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran), who earlier in the game had pinch-hit and picked up her first career hit, stepped up to the plate with the bases still loaded and drove an 0-1 offering over the fence in right-center field for Valpo’s second grand slam of the day. Bouchard followed by putting the proverbial cherry on top, capping the scoring by making it back-to-back homers with her second four-bagger of the day.
Freshman Taylor Weissenhofer (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) improved to 11-9 with the winning effort in the circle for the Crusaders, going the distance and giving up just three hits and one walk while striking out eight. Kat Hoffman started and took the loss for Detroit, falling to 2-15 after tossing the first five frames. Korb and Bouchard combined to reach in all six of their plate appearances, going 5-for-5 with three runs scored and nine RBIs.
The nightcap was not nearly as kind to the Crusaders, as Valpo had just three baserunners on the game. Meanwhile, Detroit scored two in the first, one in the second and six in the third for the win. Julia Maksym earned the win for Detroit (5-36, 2-12 Horizon) with a complete-game shutout, making her 1-13 on the year, while freshman Sierra Pico (North Las Vegas, Nev./Legacy) took the loss for the Crusaders to fall to 8-7, going 2+ innings and giving up five runs. Marinec made her first career appearance in the circle for Valpo in the fourth inning of the loss, entering with one on and none out and inducing a line-drive double play and a strikeout to end the frame.
Valparaiso (22-20, 7-7 Horizon) closes out the series with the Titans at noon CT on Sunday.