The Valpo softball team continued its current homestand on Friday afternoon as conference-leading UNI came to town to kick off the three-game series. The visiting Panthers took both ends of the doubleheader, winning the opener, 9-1, and the nightcap, 5-0.
How It Happened – Game One
- The speed of Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) helped give Valpo the lead in the opener in the bottom of the second. Westphal beat out a high chopper to short for a leadoff infield single, moved all the way over to third on a groundout and then beat the throw home on a grounder from Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) for the game’s first run.
- Valpo had a fantastic chance to add to its lead in the bottom of the third, as Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) and Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Herschbach moved up to second on a wild pitch to give the Beacons two runners in scoring position with nobody out. But Moeder was tagged out just before reaching the plate on Valpo’s subsequent squeeze attempt, and then a double play ended the threat with no runs scoring.
- UNI took the lead for good in the top of the fourth, as three straight hits to lead off the inning — capped by a Kylee Sanders home run — resulted in three runs and put the Panthers ahead, 3-1.
- Valpo had two on with two outs in the bottom of the fourth on singles from Westphal and Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville), but was unable to turn the baserunners into runs. Then, the fifth inning saw Moeder and Herschbach again tally back-to-back base hits to open the frame, but again a double play ball squashed the scoring opportunity.
- UNI scored three in the top of the sixth and then got a three-run homer from Mya Dodge in the seventh to cap the scoring.
How It Happened – Game Two
- UNI jumped in front with a two-run homer from Taylor Hogan in the top of the second, and added a single run in the fourth.
- After Valpo’s first 14 batters were retired in a row, Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) broke up Samantha Heyer’s perfect game bid with a single the opposite way with two outs in the fifth.
- An infield single added a run to the ledger for the Panthers in the top of the sixth.
- Trailing 4-0, Valpo brought the potential tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with one out on singles from Beckemeyer and Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) and a walk by Moeder. But a fly ball to center turned into a double play, as UNI cut down the runner trying to tag at the plate.
- The Panthers added one final run on a two-out RBI double in the seventh.
Inside the Games
- Three Valpo players had multi-hit games in the opener, as Herschbach, Moeder and Westphal all picked up a pair of base knocks.
- Herschbach also drew a walk as well as she reached base three times in the series opener.
- Beckemeyer’s RBI in the opener was her 10th of the season.
- Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) went the distance in the circle in the nightcap, her first complete game for the Beacons since May 1 of last season.
Valpo (10-23, 1-13 MVC) will close out the three-game set against the conference leaders on Saturday afternoon from the Valpo Softball Complex. First pitch is set for noon, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.