Mon, Apr. 29, 2013 - [Softball]
Buena Vista, 2
Buena Vista, 4
The Loras College softball team wrapped up their 2013 season this weekend, going 2-2 at Buena Vista on Saturday to close the Iowa Conference portion of the schedule and at Eureka on Sunday. The Duhawks won Game 1 at Buena Vista to setup the winner-take-all backdrop for the final IIAC spot in Game 2.
The weekend began with the long trip to Storm Lake in search of the league's final Iowa Conference tournament slot.
Three of Buena Vista's six hits against starter Kellie Klein came in the two-run fourth inning for the hosts. A sacrifice fly and a sacrifice bunt helped the Beavers to push two runs across, and an RBI double later in the inning would be the extent of the scoring.
Earlier, the Duhawks had threatened to score in the third inning but came up empty and left two runners on base. Loras spread three other hits out in the early going, but claimed victory with an emotional late rally.
With their postseason hopes down to their final three outs, the middle of the batting order stepped up. Starting pitcher Kellie Klein, Loras' all time leader in homeruns, hit her seventh of the season to start the inning. Alaina Rigdon followed by going back-to-back to tie the game at 2-2. Loras' momentum continued with a single from Regan Thies and after a pair of force outs at second base, Sam Shindelar stood at first and Beth Miller stepped into the batter's box. She drove a ball out to the left center field gap and Shindelar got the green light to score the eventual winning run.
Holly Klein came on to save the game in the seventh, facing just four batters, getting one ground out and a pair of flyouts to end the game.
Game 2 saw Loras' offense continue in the first inning, Rigdon again delivered a long ball, this time a two-run shot as the second hitter of the game following a Miller single. Buena Vista would plate single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 2-2 as more late inning heroics would decide the #6 seed in next weekend's tournament.
Kellie Klein would take the mound in the bottom of the fifth to get the final out and get out of the jam that tied the game. She would follow the next half inning with her eighth homerun of the year to make it 3-2 in favor of the Duhawks, this time a two-out version.
The lead was short-lived for Loras, as Buena Vista used a hit by pitch, error, and one hit to take their first lead of the game at 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
Loras was once again down to their final three outs, but a trio of pinch-hitters went ground out/strikeout/popout to end the game.
A win for Loras would have put them in a tie with Buena Vista at 4-10 and given them the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The rainy spring gave the Duhawks the opportunity to open the schedule to some impromptu makeup games. Loras moved around a doubleheader against Eureka to Sunday.
In Game 1, Loras was limited to just two hits and three first inning runs for Eureka proved to be enough. One of the three runs against starter Kellie Klein was earned. She had one of the two hits as well, and Makaila Haase accounted for the other.
Game 2 sent the Duhawks into the offseason with a win. Holly Klein scattered four hits as Loras posted eight of their own. Alaina Rigdon continued her offensive production with another long ball to start the fourth inning, when Loras would open the scoring with two runs. Sam Shindelar and Molly Bolibaugh added RBI hits in the sixth and seven innings for insurance runs.
Loras closes 2013 with a 12-19 record. They defeated Buena Vista once and Wartburg twice for their three IIAC wins - finishing 3-11 - in the deepest Division III softball conference in the country.
Kellie Klein, Regan Thies, Shelby Perkins, and Beth Miller close their careers 65 wins over the last four seasons.