The Valparaiso University softball team saw its 2017 season come to an end on Friday afternoon at the Horizon League Championship, as the Crusaders finished the tournament in fourth place with an 8-0 loss to Detroit Mercy. Valpo ended the season with 28 wins – its highest win total since 2013 – and senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) finished out her final year with four program single-season records.
How It Happened
- Detroit Mercy jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on Friday in the top of the first, despite having just one ball leave the infield.
- The Titans added a single run in the third to push their lead to 4-0.
- Valpo had runners on in each of the first three innings – a pair of one-out walks in the first, a one-out single in the second and a leadoff single and a two-out walk in the third – but were unable to push any runs across the plate.
- An error in the top of the fifth led to the Titans’ Ellie Boteler connecting on a grand slam to close the scoring.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders were limited to just two hits on Friday – singles from freshmen Hannah Dybalski (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) and Morgan Matalin (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point).
- Stewart drew a pair of walks in her two plate appearances in her final game.
- Valpo was 0-for-5 on Friday with runners in scoring position.
- Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) took the loss in the start, falling to 20-12 to close out the year.
Closing Out the Season
- Stewart set new Valpo single-season records for on-base percentage (.568), slugging percentage (.836), home runs (15) and walks (49) in her final year in the Crusader uniform.
- Stewart also closed out the year fourth in a single season in RBIs, sixth in batting average, seventh in runs scored and eighth in total bases.
- Also at the plate, sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) closed the year tied for fifth in a season in program history in triples and sixth in hits.
- In the circle, Grossmann ranks third in a single season in wins, fifth in pitching appearances, tied for seventh in saves and tied for ninth in strikeouts, while freshman Lindsay Zdroik (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward) also tied for seventh in a single season in saves.
- In the field, junior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) committed just one error at first base in 2017, closing the campaign tied for fourth in a season in fielding percentage and fifth in putouts.
- The left side of the Crusader infield stayed busy all year long, as sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley]) finished second in a season in program history in assists and senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) placed fifth in the same category.
- As a team, the 2017 squad ranked third in a single season all-time at Valpo in walks, saves and assists, fourth in home runs and fifth in fielding percentage.
Saying Goodbye to the Seniors
- Classmates and longtime neighbors, Calombaris and Stewart both saw their Crusader careers come to an end on Friday.
- Calombaris ended her four years at Valpo seventh in program history in at-bats (608), 10th in games played (201) and tied for 10th in assists (301).
- Calombaris also closed her career just outside the Crusaders’ all-time top-10 with 150 hits and 89 runs scored.
- Stewart ended her time at Valpo third in program history in home runs (29); fourth in RBIs (110), walks (89) and slugging percentage (.543); and sixth in on-base percentage (.414).
Thoughts From Head Coach Kate Stake
“Jorgi and Sam will be missed. They came into their own this year – as competitors, as teammates and as people. It’s been a privilege to coach them.”
“This year’s team was special. They embodied our ‘with it or on it’ ethos. They played selflessly. They celebrated each other’s success and picked each other up in defeat. And while this particular group won’t end their season with a ring, the successes that we found throughout the season – on the field and off – have made this a special year.”