It was a great all-around team effort for the Valpo softball team in its regular season finale against Evansville on Sunday, as the Beacons’ offense and pitching both enjoyed one of their best games of the season in a 10-0 run-rule victory over the Purple Aces to claim the series win.
How It Happened
- The Purple Aces loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) escaped the jam with a lineout to left to keep Evansville off the scoreboard.
- It took Valpo just three batters into the bottom of the first to take the lead for good, as Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) continued her recent hot streak at the plate by roping a double into the right-center gap to bring Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) home.
- Kehlenbrink proceeded to score on a single from Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville), and after a bunt single and stolen base by Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township), Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) knocked a two-run single back through the circle.
- Beckemeyer eventually scored later in the inning on a wild pitch, capping a five-run opening frame.
- Seib worked around threats in each of the next two innings as well, stranding a pair of Evansville baserunners in the second and third frames.
- The Beacons pushed the game into run-rule territory with a four-run third inning after the first two batters of the inning were retired in order. Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) started moving the line with a line-drive single, and Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) immediately drove her in with a double to the gap in left-center.
- Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) was called upon to pinch-hit and delivered in a big way, launching a moonshot down the left-field line for a two-run homer. Moeder followed by drawing a four-pitch walk and came around to score on a wild pitch to make it a 9-0 lead.
- Double digits in the runs column came in the bottom of the fourth, as Herschbach turned on a ball down the right-field line for a leadoff double and later crossed the plate on an RBI grounder from Hecker.
- After working in and out of trouble in the first three innings, Seib was perfect in the final two frames, retiring the side in order in both innings.
Inside the Game
- Sunday’s win clinched the series victory for Valpo over the Purple Aces, its first against Evansville since joining the MVC. The Beacons won two of their final three series of the regular season.
- Valpo reached double figures in runs scored for the third time this year.
- The 10 runs mark Valpo’s highest offensive output since joining the Valley, and is its highest mark in any league game since dropping 10 runs in Horizon League action at Detroit in April 2017.
- It was Valpo’s first run-rule victory in Valley play since a 9-0 win at Illinois State in May 2018.
- While the offensive output was impressive, the pitching performance of Seib might have been just as impressive. The junior earned her eighth win of the year with her third shutout, surrendering just three hits to match her season best.
- Seib did not give up an earned run in 12 innings of work against Evansville this weekend.
- As a team, Valpo tallied 11 hits in the victory and has now reached double figures in hits in four of its last seven games.
- Sunday’s offensive attack was a balanced one, as eight of nine lineup positions picked up at least one hit and scored at least one run.
- Three Beacons posted multi-hit games in the win, including a 2-of-3 effort with two runs scored from Herschbach, who finished with two or more hits for the ninth time this season.
- Tonoian capped a strong Senior Weekend with her second multi-hit game of the series.
- Milkowski came off the bench with her fourth multi-hit game of the campaign, going 2-for-2 as she added a fourth-inning single to her third-inning round-tripper — her third home run of the season.
- Beckemeyer and Hecker joined Milkowski in driving in multiple runs.
Valpo (14-32, 5-22 MVC) will open MVC Tournament action in Springfield, Mo. on Wednesday afternoon, as the tenth-seeded Beacons will take on seventh-seeded Indiana State at 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+, as will all tournament games.