The Valpo softball team opened up the 2023 campaign on Thursday afternoon with a pair of games at the DePaul Dome Tournament in Rosemont, Ill. The Beacons dropped a 7-1 decision to the host Blue Demons in the tournament opener before falling 11-0 to Saint Louis to close the evening.
How It Happened – DePaul
- The Blue Demons jumped on top in their first turn at the plate, courtesy of a three-run homer from Brooke Johnson. DePaul added another tally in the second inning to go up 4-0.
- Senior pitcher Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) and the Beacon defense kept DePaul off the board in each of the next three innings, including a 1-2-3 third inning.
- Valpo put together a two-out rally in the top of the sixth to crack the scoreboard. Junior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) got it going by beating out an infield single and junior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) followed with a two-strike single back through the middle. Fifth-year Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) then jumped on the first pitch she saw for an RBI single into center, plating Hecker to make it a 4-1 game.
- With the tying run at the plate, Valpo was unable to add to its ledger. DePaul scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth to cap the scoring.
How It Happened – Saint Louis
- Junior pitcher Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) retired the Billikens in order in the top of the first. Valpo threatened in its half of the opening inning, getting two on base with two outs, but a strikeout prevented the Beacons from taking an early lead.
- SLU jumped on top for good with two runs in the top of the second and added four in the third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth to complete the scoring.
Inside the Games
- This is Valpo’s third consecutive season opening the campaign at the DePaul Dome Tournament, and the Beacons have taken on the hosts in the first game of the tournament all three years.
- Hecker picked up a pair of hits in the opener for her ninth career multi-hit game and also reached base in the nightcap, drawing a walk.
- Freshman Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) also picked up a hit against DePaul in addition to the aforementioned base knocks.
- Seib went the distance in the circle versus the Blue Demons, registering five strikeouts.
- Juniors Autumn Acord (LaGrange, Ohio/Keystone [Kent State]) and Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) registered base hits in the nightcap.
- Kowalski tallied six strikeouts in three innings of work against SLU.
- In addition to Rodas and Acord, three other players made their Valpo debuts on Thursday. Freshman Lexi Szostak (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) drew a walk at the plate against DePaul and entered in relief work in the circle against Saint Louis, striking out two batters in an inning of action.
- Freshman Cadence Augustine (Beaverton, Mich./Beaverton) debuted against Saint Louis with one inning of relief work, while fellow rookie Lyna Vasquez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Valley View) saw action behind the plate catching against the Billikens and threw out a runner trying to steal.
Valpo (0-2) continues play from Rosemont on Friday evening against Western Illinois. The matchup between the Leathernecks and the Beacons is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. first pitch.