March 16, 20241234567RHE
Win: Jolly (2-7) 3.263324
Loss: Kowalski (1-6) 2.165522
Johnson (VALPO) 422000
Utendorf (VALPO) 212120
Hecker (VALPO) 312211
Frossard (UE) 323010
Comeback Effort Comes Up Just Short for Softball Saturday
Saturday, March 16, 2024
Comeback Effort Comes Up Just Short for Softball Saturday
Alexis Johnson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases Saturday.

Trailing by six runs after two innings Saturday, the Valpo softball team continued to fight and put four runs on the board in the seventh inning to bring the potential tying run to the plate before falling at Evansville by a 9-7 final.

How It Happened

  • The Beacons jumped out on top in their first turn at the plate. Senior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) led off the game with a double and moved over to third on a Kam Utendorf (Columbus Grove, Ohio/Columbus Grove [Black Hawk College]) single. With the first and third situation, Valpo sent the runner from first, and with the play being made on her, Johnson raced home with the game’s opening run.
  • Evansville took the lead with two runs in its first time at the plate. The Purple Aces then put five runs on the board in the second to lead 7-1 after two full innings.
  • Valpo began to chip away in the top of the third. Johnson connected on a one-out single, stole second and scored on an RBI single from Utendorf.
  • Senior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) sliced another run off the deficit with a solo homer to lead off the top of the fourth, making it a 7-3 ballgame.
  • The Purple Aces threatened to add to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with two outs, but Sydney McDermott (Stout, Ohio/Portsmouth West) induced a grounder to short to keep it a four-run game.
  • Valpo had a great chance to get closer in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a UE error, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the frame.
  • Evansville pushed the lead back to six runs with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. Later in the frame, the score was still 9-3 and the Purple Aces had loaded the bases with two outs — the potential winning run via run-rule standing on second base — before Caitlyn Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) got a fly ball to left to extend the game.
  • It was still a 9-3 game entering the seventh inning, setting the stage for Valpo to go to work in its attempt to rally. The Beacons loaded the bases with nobody out, doing so without a single swing of the bat as Utendorf worked a full-count walk, sophomore Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) was hit by the first pitch she saw and freshman Kayden Krug (Milford, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) took four straight balls for a walk.
  • In fact, Valpo’s first swing of the inning — by its fourth batter — resulted in two runs, as Hecker’s soft tapper was enough for an infield single and a subsequent Evansville error allowed a second run to score, making it a 9-5 game.
  • A walk to pinch-hitter Lauren Sena (McHenry, Ill./McHenry) again loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate for Valpo. The Beacons’ next batter grounded into a double play, bringing home a run to cut the deficit to 9-6, but using up two of their three outs at the same time.
  • Senior Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) stepped in as a pinch-hitter and wasted no time, lining the first pitch she saw through the right side to score Sena to make it 9-7.
  • Once again, Valpo had the potential tying run at the plate, but a groundout ended the game.

Inside the Game

  • The seven runs the Beacons’ offense produced matched the program’s highest run production in a loss since a 12-9 defeat at Northern Kentucky March 25, 2017.
  • Utendorf continued her strong season by reaching base all four times on Saturday, going 2-for-2 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. Her MVC-best batting average is up to .462, while Saturday was her team-best seventh multi-hit game of the year.
  • Hecker delivered her sixth multi-hit game of the season by going 2-for-3 with a walk, including her second home run of the campaign.
  • Johnson picked up a pair of hits out of the leadoff spot for her fourth multi-hit game. The senior also scored a pair of runs and stole two bases, the latter giving her a team-high 12 stolen bases this year.
  • Sophomore Lexi Szostak (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) reached base twice Saturday as well with a single and a walk.
  • Valpo matched its season high by drawing seven walks at the plate.
  • Kowalski started in the circle and took the loss, tossing 2.1 innings in two separate stints.

Next Up

Valpo (6-17, 0-2 MVC) concludes its conference-opening series at Evansville on Sunday afternoon at noon, with the game broadcast live on ESPN+.