May 01, 20161234567RHE
Win: ZEMMER (9-12) 5.063322
Loss: WEISSENHOFER (6-11) 5.045574

May 01, 20161234567RHE
Win: MONTGOMERY (1-2) 7.042212
Loss: WAALKES (3-10) 6.2103317
Crusaders Split Pair of One-Run Decisions Sunday
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Crusaders Split Pair of One-Run Decisions Sunday
Kaitlyn Ranieri delivered the walk-off winner Sunday.

The Valparaiso University softball team saw both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader with Oakland come down to one run, splitting the twinbill with the Golden Grizzlies to earn the series victory in the key league series. For the second time in three games, senior Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) delivered a walk-off winner in the nightcap, capping a 3-2 victory, while in the opener, the Crusaders’ comeback effort came up just short in a 7-6 loss.

Called upon to start in the circle for just the second time this season and the first time in Horizon League play, sophomore Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) was stellar in the nightcap win. Montgomery went the distance to earn the win, surrendering just four hits and one walk while registering 15 of her outs via ground balls.

Montgomery set down the first eight batters she faced in order – seven of them on groundouts – before Oakland struck for four straight singles with two outs in the third, plating both of its runs. The sophomore got out of the jam with a grounder to first, the first of seven consecutive outs she recorded.

The only other blemish against Montgomery came via a leadoff walk in the sixth to Kelsie Swanson. Swanson would move up to third base with two outs, but a groundout to third left her stranded and the sophomore then retired the Golden Grizzlies in order in the seventh.

Valpo looked poised for a potential big inning to open the nightcap, pushing the initial run of the game across on an RBI single from sophomore Taylor Nadler (New Haven, Mo./St. Francis Borgia) to score junior Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro). The Crusaders would load the bases with two outs looking to add to the lead, but eventually left the bases loaded.

After Oakland claimed the lead with its two-run third inning, the Crusaders went down in order in their next two turns at the plate before tying the game in the fifth. Junior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) led off with a sharp single back through the middle, and freshman Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) followed by dropping a base knock into shallow left. After a sacrifice bunt, a strikeout had Valpo down to its final out of the inning, but on a full-count pitch, a check-swing grounder from Ranieri rolled slowly enough to the Oakland shortstop to allow everybody to advance and scoring Calombaris to make it a 2-2 ballgame.

With the game looking like it might be the second of the series to head to extra innings, the Crusaders made sure to end it in regulation. Lawson deadened a slap perfectly inside the third-base line, beating the throw to first by a step to put a runner on with one out. Two batters later, Ranieri stepped in and delivered the decisive blow for the second time this weekend, pulling a 1-1 pitch to the right-center gap – easily enough to plate the speedy Lawson for the walk-off winner.

Kaley Waalkes was saddled with the complete-game loss for Oakland (12-27, 7-10 Horizon), falling to 3-10 on the season. Trepanier, Lawson and Ranieri all had two-hit games in the nightcap to lead the Valpo offense.

In the opener, Oakland jumped out to a 2-0 lead through three innings, scoring both runs in nearly identical fashion. Sarah Hartley led off both innings by reaching – once on a single, once on a walk – before stealing second and advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt. Hartley scored on a wild pitch in the first to open the scoring, and in the third, crossed the plate on a bunt single from Brittney Miller. Valpo was within inches of cutting the lead in half in the bottom of the third, but a bomb to the fence in right-center by junior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) hit the top of the fence and bounded back into play for just a double.

Oakland added another run to its lead in the fifth inning, but the Crusaders responded immediately in their next at-bat, as sophomore Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) turned on the first pitch of the inning for a home run to left – her second round-tripper of the campaign – to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to 3-1. Oakland’s offense exploded in the sixth, however, as after being limited to just three hits through five innings, the Golden Grizzlies tallied six hits – including three of the infield variety – in the sixth to score four runs and push their lead to 7-1.

Valpo would not go down quietly, though. Stewart made it two innings in a row with a Crusader leadoff homer, this time easily clearing the right-center fence, and following a Ranieri single, Nadler tripled off the fence in center to cut the deficit to 7-3. Then, in the seventh, Calombaris and Trepanier led off with back-to-back singles, and two batters later, Stewart swatted a pitch through the left side of the infield to score Calombaris and make it a 7-4 game.

Ranieri followed with another base knock to load the bases and bring the potential winning run to the plate with one out. Nadler then sent a fly ball into right-center field which was dropped, but Ranieri had to hold near first and was thrown out at second on the fielder’s choice. Trepanier scored on the play, however, to move Valpo within 7-5, and then an Oakland error would bring the Crusaders back to within 7-6 with two on and two outs before a fly-out to center ended the comeback effort.

Senior Taylor Weissenhofer (Orland Park, Ill./Lockport Township) took the loss in the opener, throwing five-plus innings to fall to 6-11. Haley Zemmer earned the win for Oakland with five-plus innings of work as well, improving to 9-12. Stewart went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs in the loss, while Ranieri tallied a pair of base hits and Nadler reached base twice as well.

Valparaiso (13-30, 7-12 Horizon) steps out of league play for the final time in the regular season on Wednesday as the Crusaders host Northern Illinois for a doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m., with both games available on ESPN3. Links for the live video and live stats will be available via