Valpo softball senior shortstop Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington), who already ranked among the program’s all-time best in career stolen bases, installed her name in the single-game record book in that category in Sunday’s series finale at Drake, swiping three bases as the Beacons fell to the Bulldogs by a 5-1 final.
How It Happened
- For the third straight game, Valpo opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. Westphal led off the game by working a full-count walk and swiped second, putting herself in position to come home on an RBI single back up the middle from Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township).
- Drake responded by scoring a single run in the bottom of the first in the exact same fashion. The Bulldogs threatened to go in front in the second, putting their first two batters of the inning on, but a potential run-scoring knock hit one of the Drake baserunners and Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville) then threw out a runner trying to steal to keep it a 1-1 game.
- Westphal drew a one-out walk in the top of the third, promptly stole second and then took third as well, moving herself within 60 feet of scoring with two outs. Herschbach drew a four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners, but an infield pop-up ended the opportunity.
- Drake took the lead with two runs on four straight hits in the bottom of the third. The Bulldogs extended the lead to 4-1 with a two-out RBI double in the fourth, and closed the scoring with a single run in the fifth after loading the bases with nobody out.
- After going down in order in each of the previous three innings, the Beacons gave the Bulldogs some trouble in the top of the seventh. Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) led off the inning by hitting a sharp liner off the third baseman’s glove for a single, and two batters later, Weaver drilled a double to the wall in left-center to give Valpo two runners in scoring position with just one out. But the Beacons’ next two batters went down in order to end the game.
Inside the Game
- Westphal stole three bases in a game for the first time in her career to match Valpo’s single-game program record in the category. She joins 13 others who have accomplished the feat.
- Westphal totaled five steals on the weekend, swiping at least one base in all three games. The senior now has 35 career steals, tied with Carla Reiter for sixth-most in program history.
- Westphal hit leadoff for the first time this season, and now has started at least one game in seven of the nine lineup slots.
- Herschbach reached base a total of six times in the series, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base in Sunday’s game.
- Weaver’s double was her team-high seventh of the season. Four of the rookie’s two-baggers have come in Valpo’s last six games.
- After drawing just 19 walks as a team through their first 17 MVC games, the Beacons drew nine walks over the course of the weekend.
Valpo (11-28, 2-18 MVC) finishes out its series against travel partner Loyola with a single game on Wednesday afternoon in Rogers Park. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.