After spending one weekend away from competition, the Valpo softball team returned to the diamond Friday at the Hoosier Classic in Bloomington, Ind. The Beacons earned a 2-1 victory over Western Illinois in their opener and were within one run late against host Indiana before falling by a 9-4 final.
How It Happened – Western Illinois
- Valpo threatened time and again over the course of the game, starting with the top of the first, when the Beacons loaded the bases but were unable to push across a run.
- Valpo scored the only runs it would need in the top of the second. A double by Taylor Tonoian (Saugus, Calif./Saugus), a hit batter and a WIU error loaded the bases with nobody out. Peyton Moeder (Shawnee, Kan./Mill Valley) brought home Tonoian with a run-scoring single, and later in the frame, Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) connected on a sacrifice fly to plate Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) and make it 2-0 Beacons.
- Despite being in position to lengthen their lead throughout the opener, the second-inning runs were the only tallies the Beacons were able to put up. Valpo left a total of 12 runners on base, including 10 in scoring position.
- That proved to be enough, however, as Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) tossed a gem of a complete game for a second straight start.
- The only blemish against Seib was a solo homer in the fourth inning from WIU’s Savannah Rodriguez. The Leathernecks continued to threaten later in that frame, stringing together three straight singles to load the bases, but Seib induced a grounder to short to keep it a 2-1 ballgame.
- Only one WIU batter reached in the final three innings, and Addi Weaver (Shelbyville, Ind./Shelbyville) promptly threw out that runner attempting to steal as Valpo picked up the win in the opener.
How It Happened – Indiana
- Valpo jumped on the host Hoosiers immediately in its first turn at the plate. Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) worked a full-count walk and came home right away on a triple from Milkowski. Two batters later, Kate Beckemeyer (Forsyth, Ill./Maroa-Forsyth [Parkland]) knocked a single through the left side to score Milkowski as Valpo led 2-0.
- Indiana scored one run in its first turn at bat, but the Beacons answered immediately thanks to the speed of Jaina Westphal (Waterford, Wis./Burlington) in the top of the second. Westphal laid down a one-out bunt single, stole second, moved up to third on a sac bunt and scored on an Indiana error.
- The Hoosiers scored three times in the bottom of the second and added another run in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead.
- Valpo cut the deficit in half in the top of the fifth, as Moeder drew a one-out walk and eventually completed the journey around the bases on an RBI single from Milkowski.
- The Beacons threatened to score the tying run in the top of the sixth after a leadoff single from Beckemeyer, but were unable to advance the runner past first base. Indiana capped the scoring with a four-run bottom of the sixth.
Inside the Games
- With the win over Western Illinois, Valpo is a perfect 4-0 this year to date in one-run games.
- Since opening the season 0-3, the Beacons are 6-2 in their last eight games.
- Seib earned the win in the circle with her complete-game effort against Western Illinois, the fourth consecutive appearance in which she has earned the victory. Seib scattered six hits and allowed just the one run, striking out four and walking none to improve to 4-1 on the year.
- Cheyenne Nietz (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) started at pitcher and tossed the first two innings against Indiana, taking the loss. Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) completed the outing, throwing three shutout innings before surrendering four runs in the sixth.
- Moeder tallied three hits in the win over the Leathernecks, the sixth game of her career she has picked up at least three base hits.
- Skapyak ended the day with three hits as well, connecting on two versus WIU and one against Indiana.
- Beckemeyer and Milkowski each had multi-hit games in the nightcap against Indiana. With her triple against the Hoosiers, Milkowski now has six extra-base hits through the season’s first 11 games.
Valpo (6-5) will close the Hoosier Classic on Saturday with two more games. The rematch with Western Illinois is slated for 8 a.m. CT, and Valpo’s finale against Indiana is set for 1:30 p.m. CT. Both games will have live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com, while the showdown with the Hoosiers can be seen live on BTN+.