The Valpo softball team looked to earn a come-from-behind win in its last time at bat Saturday afternoon against Indiana State, but came up one run short of extending the game as the Beacons fell to the Sycamores by a 3-2 final. Before the game, the program honored the members of its senior class on Senior Day.
How It Happened
- For the second straight day, Indiana State struck in its first turn at bat. The Sycamores plated one run four batters in and had the bases loaded with one out before senior Easton Seib (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs South) tallied back-to-back strikeouts to limit ISU to just one run.
- Fifth-year senior Taylor Herschbach (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) got Valpo’s first time at the plate off to a good start with a single into shallow left-center. Herschbach was on second with two out when senior Lauren Kehlenbrink (Ballwin, Mo./Parkway South) stepped in for an epic at-bat. Kehlenbrink swung at each of the first eight pitches of the plate appearance and fouled each of the eight off, spraying foul balls in all directions. Finally, on the ninth pitch, Kehlenbrink kept one fair, ripping a run-scoring double down the left-field line to tie the game.
- Junior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) followed Kehlenbrink’s two-bagger with a walk to keep the inning alive, but the Beacons stranded a pair following a strikeout.
- That proved to be the story of the game for both teams, as the two squads combined for 23 runners left on base, while there was only one 1-2-3 half inning — Valpo’s half of the third.
- Indiana State’s best chance to break the tie came in the top of the third, as the Sycamores loaded the bases with two outs on a pair of singles and a Valpo error. But Seib successfully induced a ground-ball out to keep it a 1-1 game.
- Meanwhile, Valpo’s best shot at putting another run on the board came in the bottom of the fourth, as a pinch-hit base knock from freshman Kaia Garnica (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central) and heads-up baserunning put runners on second and third with two outs. A fly ball out to right ended that threat, however.
- Indiana State finally got to Seib in the seventh, as a couple of unfortunate deflections helped result in four singles which plated two runs for the Sycamores, giving them a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
- Valpo had one final push remaining, however. Junior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) lined a single back up the middle to lead off the frame, and freshman Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) wasted no time in the box, lacing the first pitch she saw to the gap in right-center to score Hecker and make it a 3-2 game.
- The potential tying run was 60 feet from home plate, as Rodas moved up to third on the throw home, and when Kehlenbrink was hit by a pitch, the potential winning run was on base for the Beacons. The comeback effort was thwarted there, however, as an attempted squeeze resulted in the first out and the next two batters went down in order to end the game.
Inside the Game
- Prior to the game, the program held its Senior Day ceremony, honoring Seib, Kehlenbrink, Herschbach, Ryan Milkowski (Olathe, Kan./Olathe West) — who played three seasons before serving as a team manager this year due to medical reasons — and manager Jordan Bingham.
- The three playing seniors were central to the game for the Beacons. Both Herschbach and Kehlenbrink reached base twice, with Herschbach scoring a run and Kehlenbrink delivering an RBI — the latter the 50th RBI of Kehlenbrink’s collegiate career.
- Making her 97th career appearance in the circle and her 65th career start, Seib tossed the 23rd complete game of her career. The senior did well dealing with Sycamore traffic on the basepaths all day long, as she gave up just three runs despite surrendering 10 hits, three walks and a pair of hit batters.
- Seib also matched her season high for the fourth time, striking out five ISU hitters.
- Rodas went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Saturday, her sixth multi-hit game of the season.
- Valpo left 10 runners on base Saturday, matching its season high in MVC play. The 13 runners left on base by Indiana State was easily a season high for Valpo’s opponents.
Valpo (8-39, 4-22 MVC) concludes the regular season on Sunday at the Valpo Softball Complex, closing out the series with the Sycamores with a noon first pitch.