Thu, Apr. 25, 2013 - [Softball]
Wednesday marked the final home game of the 2013 season – just the third date on the calendar – for the Loras College softball team. The ninth-ranked Luther Norse was the opponent, as the Duhawks took advantage of the best weather for any of their home contests all season.
In Game 1, the Norse opened the scoring right away with their first four runs over the first two innings. In the fourth inning, they added three more. All told, Loras' five defensive miscues led to one earned run among the seven against Duhawk starting pitcher Kellie Klein. Klein finished with four innings of work and four strikeouts. Holly Klein came on to work three innings of relief and allowed just one hit.
Loras' offense was limited to a Beth Miller single to start the fourth inning and a Makaila Haase double. Luther starter Becca Girvan struck out ten in the win.
Shelby Perkins left the game in the third inning after a collision in foul territory.
Game 2 provided more offense for Loras; seven total hits and five runs – but the Norse added two extra inning runs to get back into the win column.
Holly Klein started Game 2 on the mound and Luther scored a single run in the top of the first, but this time, the Duhawks would answer with a manufactured run just an inning later.
In the bottom of the second, Molly Bolibaugh led off with a walk, stole second, and two ground balls later had tied the game at 1-1. Quiet third and fourth innings gave way to a busy fifth. Three straight singles, including two bunts, by the Norse had the bases loaded with none out as Kellie Klein came in to relieve Holly. A walk, sacrifice fly, and wild pitch later and Luther had reclaimed the lead at 4-1.
The Duhawks responded once again, this time immediately in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Beth Miller and Makaila Haase reached base in back-to-back at bats and Miller was safe on an attempted force-out at second base after the umpires deliberated on the close play. Moments later, Bolibaugh homered to center field off starter Erica Manske to tie the game at 4-4.
Loras committed two errors but didn't allow a run in the top of the sixth, and there would be just one other hit before the teams headed to extra innings. That didn't keep the Duhawks from nearly walking off in the seventh. A leadoff walk by Kellie Klein and a sacrifice bunt by Molly Bolibaugh gave the Duhawks two chances at a game winning hit. Katie Serpico and Alaina Rigdon both came up empty, and the teams went to the eighth.
Luther's top half stranded two runners as Klein pitched out of another jam. Sam Shindelar singled in the bottom half with two outs, but was left there. In the ninth, Luther's two-out rally was the different. Carli Radil hit a solo homerun and Morgan Franklin and Alise Miller added hits to make it a two-run inning. It was the first hits of Game 2 for each of the three visitors.
Loras answered with a two-out rally of their own, this time started when Bolibaugh was hit by a pitch. Serpico provided an RBI double down the right field line this time, but the game ended one batter later.
Loras fell to 2-10 in Iowa Conference play at travel to Buena Vista to close the IIAC regular season on Saturday before a non-conference trip to Eureka on Sunday. Loras is chasing Buena Vista for the final spot in the 2013 IIAC Tournament. A sweep by Loras would tie the teams at 4-10 in IIAC play, and Loras would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Following Wednesday's games, the Sherrill, Iowa Superstars fourth and fifth grade team stuck around for a meet-and-greet with the Duhawks as part of a Take A Kid To The Game promotion. The Duhawks signed posters for the youth players and answered questions the team had about the sport and improving their own play. They also raced in the outfield and did some sliding demonstrations!