March 30, 202412345678910RHE
Win: Sydney Kennedy (12-5) 10.010029
Loss: McDermott (3-10) 9.243343
Tori Meyer (BRADLEY) 501300
Bailey Sample (BRADLEY) 501000
Ashley Breeding (BRADLEY) 301000
Addie Welsh (BRADLEY) 301000
Crompton (VALPO) 401000

March 30, 202412345678910RHE
Win: Kowalski (2-6) 6.231153
Loss: Abbott Badgley (5-6) 9.193183
Bailey Sample (BRADLEY) 512101
Abbott Badgley (BRADLEY) 302010
Hecker (VALPO) 302020
Skapyak (VALPO) 402000
Johnson Delivers Walk-Off Winner, Lifts Softball Over Bradley to Close Series
Saturday, March 30, 2024
Johnson Delivers Walk-Off Winner, Lifts Softball Over Bradley to Close Series
The Beacons celebrate Alexis Johnson's walk-off double Saturday.

Valpo softball senior Alexis Johnson (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) made sure a long day at the ballpark would end with an on-field celebration, connecting on a walk-off double in the bottom of the 10th inning of Saturday’s nightcap to give the Beacons a 3-2 win over Bradley. It was the second 10-inning game of the day at the Valpo Softball Complex, as the visiting Braves emerged victorious in a pitcher’s duel in the opener, 3-0.

How It Happened – Game One

  • Freshman Sydney McDermott (Stout, Ohio/Portsmouth West) locked up with Bradley hurler Sydney Kennedy in an old-fashioned, low-scoring duel in the opener Saturday.
  • McDermott allowed just three baserunners in the first seven innings — a two-out double in the third which she quickly followed with a strikeout, a leadoff walk in the fourth who did not advance past first base and and a leadoff single in the seventh which she stranded at third base with a flyout.
  • Valpo had the best chance of either team to put runs in the board in regulation, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the second on a hit batter and two walks. But a grounder to third turned into a force for the third out.
  • The Beacons’ final 15 batters of regulation were retired in order as the game entered extra innings scoreless.
  • After McDermott set down Bradley in order in the top of the eighth, senior Emily Crompton (Salem, Ill./Christ Our Rock Lutheran) singled up the middle to lead off the bottom of the frame — Valpo’s first hit of the ballgame. Crompton’s pinch-runner moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a groundout, but another grounder stranded her there as the game advanced to the ninth.
  • A two-out error gave Bradley a runner on third in the top of the ninth, but that just set up McDermott to snare a liner back through the box for the third out of the frame. Valpo went down in order in its half of the ninth.
  • Bradley loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th. McDermott dug in and recorded a strikeout on a full-count pitch for the second out before Tori Meyer lined the first pitch she saw to the fence in right-center, clearing the bases. The Beacons were retired in order in their half of the inning to close out the game.

How It Happened – Game Two

  • After a game one which featured just 13 total baserunners between the two teams, the story of the nightcap was the chances both teams would have, as both Bradley and Valpo stranded more runners than that.
  • The first couple of innings for Bradley set up how the game would go, as the Braves had runners on the corners with two outs in the first and second and third with one out in the second. Both times, freshman Anna Wilming (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) picked up the key outs to keep Bradley off the board.
  • Valpo scored its first run of the day in the bottom of the second, as freshman Natalie Bush (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian) and sophomore Kim Rodas (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon) drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, and the former came around to score on an RBI single by Crompton. The Beacons had two in scoring position with one out and the bases loaded with two outs later in the frame, but were unable to add to their advantage.
  • Bradley evened the score in the top of the third on a solo homer by Bailey Sample. The Braves looked to go in front in the fourth as they loaded the bases with one out before a foulout and a lineout kept it a 1-1 tie.
  • The Beacons had their own chance in the bottom of the fourth, with runners on second and third with one out. An infield pop-up and a grounder kept them from retaking the lead.
  • It looked like Bradley had pulled in front in the top of the fifth, as with the bases loaded and one out, the Braves got a fly ball to deep center field and their runner from third came home. The Beacons appealed at third that the runner had left early, however, and got the out signal to complete the double play.
  • Valpo pulled ahead in the bottom of the fifth, as Bush came in to score on a Bradley error.
  • The Beacons entered the top of the seventh with a 2-1 lead, but were unable to close things out in regulation, as a leadoff double turned into the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly. Valpo looked to literally walk it off in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs on a trio of walks before a grounder sent the game to extras.
  • For all the runners stranded through the game’s first seven innings, the start of extra innings was relatively benign, as the two squads combined to leave just three runners on base in the first two innings. The best chance for either team in those frames came in Valpo’s half of the eighth, as senior Kayla Skapyak (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) led off the inning with a single before she was erased as Bradley turned a double play on a sacrifice bunt attempt which was lined right at the Braves’ first baseman.
  • Bradley got a two-out walk in the top of the 10th before senior Caitlin Kowalski (Temperance, Mich./Notre Dame Academy) recorded a strikeout looking to close out the inning.
  • Freshman Madison Stamper (Matthews, N.C./Porter Ridge) reached to lead off the bottom of the 10th on a Bradley error. Pinch-runner Lyna Vasquez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Valley View) advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Skapyak, setting up Johnson’s heroics.

Inside the Games

  • Johnson’s walk-off was Valpo’s first since Morgan Matalin sent everyone home happy with a walk-off homer in a neutral-site game against Cleveland State March 8, 2020.
  • Valpo’s last walk-off at home came on April 9, 2019 against Indiana State, courtesy of Taylor Herschbach.
  • Saturday marked just the second time in program history Valpo has played at least 10 innings twice in the same day — a twinbill April 8, 2006 at IUPUI featured a 10-inning opener, followed by an 11-inning nightcap.
  • It is just the fifth time in program history Valpo has played at least 20 innings of softball in one day.
  • The opener was the first game in program history which entered the 10th inning scoreless.
  • Crompton picked up Valpo’s sole hit in the opener.
  • While the result didn’t go her way, McDermott’s effort in the circle in the opener was admirable. The freshman needed just 104 pitches to spin nine shutout innings to open the game before running into trouble in the 10th. McDermott ended up surrendering just four hits on the day.
  • The offense came alive for the Beacons in the nightcap, as they racked up nine hits and eight walks. Senior Regi Hecker (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Blue Springs South) led the way as she went 2-for-3 with a pair of free passes.
  • Skapyak had a multi-hit game in the finale as well, going 2-for-4, while Johnson reached base three times, finishing 1-for-4 with two walks.
  • Bradley stranded 15 runners on base in the nightcap and was just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, while Valpo left 15 runners on base and was 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
  • Wilming started in the circle and surrendered just one run in 3.1 innings of work. Kowalski entered in relief in the fourth inning and earned the win, going 6.2 innings and surrendering just three hits and one run.

Next Up

Valpo (7-20, 1-5 MVC) continues its eight-game homestand on Friday afternoon when the Beacons take on Belmont at 3 p.m.