After falling behind by seven runs in its MVC Tournament opener against Indiana State Wednesday, the Valpo softball team put together a furious comeback effort, closing to within two runs before succumbing to the Sycamores by a 9-5 final in Springfield, Mo. Valpo’s four seniors all stood out in the final game of their careers, combining for seven of the Beacons’ 10 hits, three runs scored and four RBIs.
How It Happened
- Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) led off the game with a double down the left-field line, but was only able to advance as far as third base.
- Indiana State put four runs on the board in the bottom of the first, three of which were unearned.
- Valpo picked up a hit apiece in each of the next three frames, as Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) looped a two-out double into left in the top of the second, Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) laid down a two-out bunt single in the third and Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) picked up a one-out infield single in the fourth, but the Beacons were unable to convert any of those runners into runs.
- Indiana State scored an unearned run in the third and two runs — one of which was unearned — in the fourth to extend its lead to 7-0.
- Valpo cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) took advantage of an error to reach to lead off the frame, and a single and subsequent steal from Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) gave the Beacons two runners in scoring position with nobody out.
- An RBI groundout from Moeder brought Hecker home with the Beacons’ first run of the game. Three batters later, with runners on the corners and two outs, Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville) battled, fouling off three two-strike pitches before lining a 1-2 pitch into left to score Skapyak and make it a 7-2 game.
- Skapyak helped keep the score the same in the bottom of the fifth as well, throwing out an Indiana State runner at home trying to score with two outs to keep it 7-2.
- Valpo kept the pressure on offensively in the sixth inning. Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) led off the inning with a first-pitch liner into center for a single, and Beckemeyer followed with a single of her own as the first two batters of the inning reached.
- After back-to-back outs, Moeder stepped up and looped a first-pitch single off the chalk on the left-field line — running all the way, Tonoian beat the throw home for Valpo’s third run of the game. Then, with two in scoring position as Moeder had moved up to second on the throw home, Westphal drilled a first-pitch single back through the middle to cut the deficit to two runs.
- Indiana State doubled the lead in its half of the sixth on a two-out, two-run homer, and while Herschbach drew a one-out walk in the top of the seventh, Valpo could not put together another rally.
Inside the Game
- Valpo tallied 10 hits as a team on Wednesday, the fifth time in the season’s last eight games that the Beacons reached double figures in the hits column.
- Valpo’s five runs marked its highest output in a defeat since a 10-6 loss to Bradley on April 3.
- Three of the Beacons’ four seniors concluded their career with multi-hit games on Wednesday. Westphal reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk, as she posted her 11th multi-hit game of the year and her third multi-RBI game.
- Westphal closed the season on an eight-game hitting streak and an 11-game on-base streak.
- Moeder went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two runs driven in. It was her 10th multi-hit game of the campaign and her second multi-RBI game of the season.
- Beckemeyer registered a pair of hits as well and scored a run, her sixth multi-hit game this year.
- Tonoian rounded out the quartet of seniors in their final game in a Valpo uniform, picking up a hit and scoring a run.
- Herschbach reached base twice with a single and a walk on Wednesday, and also stole a base, finishing the year a perfect 13-for-13 on the basepaths.
- Skapyak registered a stolen base as well — her seventh of the season in as many attempts — as the Beacons finished the year 51-for-58 in stolen base attempts, finishing with the most steals of any Valpo team since 2011.
- Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) started and went the first four innings, giving up just two earned runs over that stretch. Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) threw the final two frames.
Inside the Careers
- As noted, four players wrapped up their time in the Valpo uniform on Wednesday.
- Beckemeyer finished her three seasons at Valpo with 57 hits, 15 runs scored and 22 RBIs over 97 games.
- Tonoian sits in a tie for second in program history with a .991 career fielding percentage, and picked up 43 hits, 29 runs and 30 RBIs in 132 career appearances, including 100 starts.
- Westphal ranks fourth all-time at Valpo with 40 career stolen bases. She started each and every one of her 144 appearances, tallying 98 hits, 57 runs scored and 38 RBIs in addition to her impressive stolen base numbers.
- Moeder, who was named a Second Team All-MVC and All-Defensive Team honoree earlier on Wednesday, closed out her career starting 145 straight games for Valpo in center field. She swiped 31 bases over her four seasons, eighth-most in program history, and also totaled 120 hits, 64 runs and 27 RBIs.