For Immediate Release
April 3, 2009
Eureka, Westminster split 4-3 decisions, 4-run comebacks
The Eureka College softball team opened St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Friday evening in dramatic fashion, splitting a pair of 4-3 decisions with Westminster College. In both games, the eventual winning side fell behind 3-0 before roaring back to victory in the late innings.
Eureka (5-13, 1-1 SLIAC), which had lost 5-0 to Westminster (4-15, 1-1 SLIAC) in non-conference action a week earlier, fell victim to some late Blue Jay heroics in game one.
Westminster had the advantages of last at bat and 8-5 in hits. The Red Devils, however, had the advantage of Cathy Kalnicky (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield) in its lineup. The junior, who set Eureka's career home run record in just two seasons, added another to her total in the first inning, launching a three-run shot to left center. Carissa Alig (Metamora, Ill./HS) and Amy Scammahorn (Decatur, Ill./Warrensburg-Latham), who had both reached on errors came home on the play for a 3-0 EC lead.
Unfortunately, those would be the only tallies of the game for Eureka. The Red Devils had several chances to add to its total as EC had a runner reach at least second base in three other innings. The Red Devils, who drew four walks and had just two strikeouts made Westminster work for outs.
The Blue Jays started their comeback in the fourth with a two-out RBI single by Jamie Aldrich. The run was just the second scored against Eureka pitcher Kelsey Brandt (Morton, Ill./HS) over her last four starts. Brandt came back to set Westminster down 1-2-3 in the fifth, but the Blue Jays tied the score at 3-3 with two runs on three hits in the sixth. Westminster went on to win the game in the bottom of the seventh on a bases loaded hit by Kim Dobberstein.
Kalnicky's homer was the eighth of her career. She was 1-for-3 in the game. Stephanie Hatfield (Normal, Ill./West) recorded her first career hit leading off the second inning. She also tallied a sacrifice bunt, walk and stolen base to finish 1-for-1 at the plate. Brandt tossed six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk.
The Red Devils turned the tables on the Blue Jays thanks to a four-run rally in the fifth inning of game two. Westminster sailed out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of three runs batted in by Aldrich. She hit a two-tun homer in the first inning, then later added an RBI single.
Eureka put runners all over the bases against Westminster starter Molly Mendenhall. But, EC stranded seven runners on base through the first four innings and was shut out. The Blue Jays had a chance to break the game open, but left the bases filled in the top of the fifth, giving Eureka some momentum.
Finally in the fifth, Scammahorn led off with a walk and raced around the bases on an RBI double by Kalnicky. It was the first of three doubles in the inning for Eureka. Jill Doty (Metamora, Ill./HS) then changed places with Kalnicky as her RBI double cut the Westminster lead to 3-2. An error on the next play by the Blue Jays' right fielder allowed Doty to cross the plate with the tying run, and an Ashley Unzicker (El Paso, Ill./El Paso-Gridley) double put two runners in scoring position, still with no outs.
Westminster nearly got out of it, though. A strikeout and pop up left the rally in the hands of Alig, who came through with a clutch RBI single to left bringing home Nicole Ropp (Minonk, Ill./Fieldcrest) with what turned out to be the winning tally.
Abby Segal (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) would not let the lead slip away for Eureka. She allowed a walk and single over the final two frames, but denied the Blue Jays any decent chance to tie the game back up. Segal pitched all seven innings, setting a career-high with 10 strikeouts in the process. Doty led the charge offensively, going 2-for-4 with a double, run and RBI. Eureka committed three errors in the doubleheader compared to Westminster's six.
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