Valparaiso won a pair of one-run decisions Friday at the Rebel Spring Games in Orlando, Fla., downing Detroit, 5-4, and Monmouth, 3-2. The two victories extend the Crusaders' win streak to six games, the longest such streak by a Valpo softball team in 18 seasons. Taylor Callahan (Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) broke the school record for assists in a career in the opener and registered the game-winning home run in the nightcap.
Callahan surpassed the previous record of 353 career assists in the fourth inning against the Titans on the back end of a key ground-ball double play. Detroit had closed within 4-2 and had runners on first and second with nobody out when Jessica Liebner laced a grounder down the third-base line that Callahan snagged, stepped on third to force out the lead runner, and fired to first for the record-breaking assist. The Titans would not score again in the inning.
Valpo put two runs on the board in the third on a Detroit error, and scored twice more in the fourth inning on a 2-RBI single by Beth Adamski (Saint John, Ind./Lake Central). Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/John Redmond) scored what looked to be a routine insurance run when she stole home in the fifth inning to give Valpo a 5-2 edge, but the run would turn out to be a big one later on, as Detroit scored twice in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run up to the plate, but Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) registered a strikeout to close out the game.
Stephanie Kelly (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) earned her third win in as many games, evening her season record at 3-3, allowing just two runs in five innings of work. Zappia pitched the final two frames to record her first save of the season and tenth of her career. Eight Crusader hitters registered hits in the win.
In the nightcap, Monmouth jumped out to a 2-0 lead on single tallies in the third and fourth innings. Valpo struck back in the bottom of the fourth, however. Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) singled to lead off the inning, extending her hitting streak to seven games. Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) reached on an error by Monmouth's pitcher on a sacrifice attempt, allowing Carroll to move up to third.
Korb and Carroll then pulled off a double steal, with Carroll crossing the plate with the Crusaders' first run of the game. Three batters later, Callahan came through with the seventh home run of her career for the game's final margin.
Chris Halstead (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) moved to 3-0 on the season, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings of work. Kelly came in and threw three scoreless frames to earn her first save of the season.
Valparaiso (7-3) puts its six-game win streak on the line Saturday as the Crusaders close out play at the Rebel Spring Games. Valpo will take on Colgate at 8 a.m. Central time before facing Fairleigh Dickinson at noon.