A furious two-out rally in the seventh inning fell one run short for Valparaiso Friday evening in Shreveport, La., as Centenary held on for a 6-5 victory in the series opener.
The Crusaders trailed 6-3 with two outs and Taylor Callahan (Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) on second base when the rally started. Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) knocked a single into center field to plate Callahan and cut the Ladies' lead to 6-4. Megan Carroll (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) reached on a two-base error by Centenary second baseman Lindsey Virdell, moving Robinson over to third.
After an intentional pass was issued to Whitney Warner (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) to load the bases, senior Beth Adamski (St. John, Ind./Lake Central) came through with an RBI single into center field to score Robinson and cut the margin to one run. But Valpo could not push the tying run across the plate, as the Ladies' Ryan Thacker came in to record the final out.
The Ladies struck first, plating a run on the back end of a double steal in the second inning. Valpo gained the lead in the top of the third, receiving back-to-back round-trippers from Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) and Callahan to take a 2-1 advantage. For Wolter, it was her sixth career home run, while Callahan moved into third place by herself on Valpo's all-time charts with her 11th long ball.
Centenary received an RBI single from Micah Rhodes in the bottom of the fifth to knot the game up at two, but the Crusaders responded with a run of their own in the next half-inning. Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.]) lofted a sacrifice fly into left field with the bases loaded and one out to bring home Carroll.
Valpo's lead would be short-lived, however, as the Ladies put a four-spot on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning. After loading the bases with one out, Andrea Zappia (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) induced a pop-up for the second out. But Emerald Doria followed with a grand slam to left field to give the Ladies a 6-3 edge going into the seventh.
Zappia suffered the loss for the Crusaders, falling to 6-7 on the season. The junior allowed six hits and five runs, four earned, in 5 1/3 innings of work. Kelsey Greeson earned the win for Centenary, improving to 8-10. Robinson led the Crusaders at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort, while Callahan went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, extending her Valpo season-best hitting streak to 12 games.
Valparaiso (24-12, 6-4 Mid-Con) and Centenary (20-24, 5-5 Mid-Con) will conclude the series with a doubleheader Saturday in Shreveport. First pitch of the opener is slated for 11 a.m.