The Valpo softball team got its weekend at the Charleston Invitational off to a winning start on Friday evening, sweeping a doubleheader from host Charleston by final scores of 1-0 and 4-3 to extend its winning streak to three straight games. Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) tossed a complete-game shutout in the opener, while the Beacons used a four-run fifth inning to overcome an early deficit in the nightcap.
How It Happened – Game One
- Offense was at a premium in the opener, as neither squad got a runner past second base in the first three innings. Valpo was the first to get a runner to third, putting a runner 60 feet from scoring in the top of the fourth with one out, but was unable to push the run across.
- The Beacons erased a Charleston leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth as Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville) threw out a Cougar pinch-runner attempting to steal.
- Valpo scored the only run it would need in the top of the fifth. Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) led off the frame with a double and moved up to third on a flyout. Two batters later, Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) delivered an RBI single to plate Milkowski with what proved to be the game’s lone run.
- Handed the lead, Seib retired the side in order in both the fifth and the sixth inning. The bottom of the seventh brought the Cougars’ best scoring chance of the game, as a one-out double turned into a runner on third with two away. But Seib completed the shutout, inducing a pop-up for the game’s final out.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Charleston tried to take the lead in its first turn at bat, but the combination of Moeder in center field, Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) at shortstop and Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) combined for a great relay to cut down a runner trying to score from first on a double.
- The Cougars connected on a two-out double to score a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-0 lead.
- After being held hitless for the first four innings, the Valpo offense put four runs on the board in the fifth inning. Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) got things going with a one-out infield single and eventually came around to score on a Charleston error.
- Moeder followed with her second RBI single of the game, bringing home Westphal to tie the game at 2-2.
- With runners on the corners, Moeder swiped second to put two in scoring position for Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]), and Beckemeyer delivered, driving a two-run double to the gap in left-center to score Moeder and Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) and give Valpo a 4-2 lead.
- Valpo starter Madison Wathen (Floyds Knobs, Ind./Floyd Central) made the advantage stand up, despite surrendering a run in the bottom of the fifth. Wathen got key outs with two on and two out in both the fifth and the sixth inning, and then set down the side in order in the seventh to close out the doubleheader sweep.
Inside the Games
- Valpo is on its first three-game winning streak since April 2019.
- The doubleheader sweep is the first time Valpo has beaten the same team twice in one day since sweeping Bradley in April 2018.
- Moeder led the way offensively for the Beacons on Friday, going 3-for-7 with two RBIs over the two games. She extended her hitting streak to six straight games to open the season.
- Seib was tremendous in tossing the first shutout of her collegiate career. The junior needed just 72 pitches for the complete-game victory, giving up just four hits and one walk while striking out three batters.
- Wathen followed with a strong performance as well in the nightcap. Handed the starting assignment coming off the best effort of her career in last weekend’s win over Western Michigan, Wathen went the distance as well. The sophomore allowed just one earned run while scattering nine hits and striking out five.
Valpo (3-3) tries to extend its winning streak with two more games on Saturday. The Beacons face Lipscomb at 4 p.m. CT before turning around to take on Holy Cross at 6:30 p.m. CT. Both games will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.