Category Archives: Softball

One win and five losses for Wheaton Softball

April 19 2018

Last Thursday, April 12, the Thunder split a CCIW doubleheader against North Park University. In the first game, junior starting pitcher Kelly Thornton drew one walk and hit a double while sophomore outfielder Maddy Bonetto hit a double in the sixth inning as well. Four Thunder batters hit singles: junior third baseman Hannah Clark, sophomore infielder Morgan Ryan, junior outfielder Beka Behrens and senior infielder Julia Arthur. Clark also stole two bases.

Despite a decent offensive effort by Wheaton, the Vikings ended up with the 5-4 victory thanks to three runs in the fourth inning and two more runs in the sixth inning. Wheaton scored their two runs in the bottom of the third inning, and Bonetto’s two-run double in the bottom of the sixth brought the game within one run. The Vikings’ defense held, and the final score ended with North Park as the one-run winner.

North Park scored their five runs on six hits and committed one error while Wheaton scored their four runs on six hits and committed four errors. Senior pitcher Kelly Kehres pitched all seven innings of the first game.

In the second game, Wheaton started Thornton on the mound who allowed two runs during four and a third innings of pitching, and Kehres pitched the remaining three and two-thirds innings of relief and allowed one run on three hits. The Thunder committed one error during the second game.

At bat, Wheaton was able to score eight runs on nine hits. Ryan was 3-for-5 from home plate with three RBI. Thornton was 2-for-2 and hit a grand slam during the top of the eighth inning to give Wheaton’s lead some breathing room.

After North Park gained a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, Wheaton would go on to score two runs in the top of the fifth inning when Ryan’s single allowed junior outfielder Abby Hancock and Thornton to run home. The Vikings would retaliate in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at two runs each. After a North Park error in the top of the seventh, Arthur was able to get on base and would then run home after a RBI-single by Ryan four batters later. Once again, in the bottom of the same inning, North Park tied the game. Then, the top of the eighth inning happened.

Senior Megan Neuhaus hit a single, and then junior infielder/outfielder Ali Kent drew a walk. Then, for the fifth time in her career, Kehres stepped up to home plate to bat and hit a single down right field that brought Neuhaus home. Clark drew a walk next, and the bases were loaded. Thornton’s grand slam straight over center field fence brought the score to 8-3, the final score of the game. North Park scored three runs on seven hits in the second game and committed two errors.

Wheaton then traveled to Millikin University on Friday, April 13 for a doubleheader against the Big Blue.The first game Wheaton lost 8-1 after Wheaton’s one run on five hits and one error. Freshman first baseman Maddy Whitmer pitched the starting third of the first inning and allowed three runs, two of which were earned, with one walk and no strikeouts while Thornton pitched the other five and two-thirds innings and allowed five runs on nine hits and threw two strikeouts.

Thornton was the only Thunder softball player to hit a double, but Clark, Neuhaus, Kent and Arthur all hit singles.

The second game did not turn out any better. Millikin earned a 7-0 victory by scoring seven runs on 12 hits and committing no errors while Wheaton scored no runs on five hits and committed one error. Kehres pitched all seven innings of the second game and allowed all seven runs and 12 hits but also threw one strikeout.

Although Wheaton was unable to score runs, some of their players still were able to hit the softball to get on base. Thornton continued to display offensive consistency with her 15th double of the season, which marked her down in the Wheaton athletics history books as having the second-highest single-season doubles total. Thornton is two doubles short of the school record. Thornton was 2-for-3 from home plate, and Neuhaus, Ryan and Behrens all hit singles.

On Tuesday, April 17, Wheaton traveled to Rosemont, Ill. to face the Elmhurst Bluejays in another away CCIW matchup. Once again, Wheaton would lose both games of the doubleheader to their CCIW opponent.

In the first game, Elmhurst scored five runs on 12 hits and committed one error while Wheaton scored only one run on their four hits while committing one error as well. Kehres pitched all six innings for the Thunder and allowed all five of the Bluejays’ runs and their 12 hits while throwing two walks.

The four hits were credited to Thornton, Ryan, Rodriguez and Kent. Thornton hit a double but also earned a walk. Ryan and Kent both hit singles, and Rodriguez’s RBI-single allowed Thornton to reach home for Wheaton’s only run of the game.

In the second game, Elmhurst scored seven runs on 12 hits and committed one error. This time, Wheaton scored four runs on 11 hits, but the Thunder committed a costly four errors. Thornton pitched the seven innings of the nightcap game and allowed all seven of the Bluejays’ runs and their 12 hits.

Thornton was 2-for-3 from home plate, helping drive in a run and scoring one run herself. Kent was 2-for-3 as well, and Ryan was 2-for-4 with a RBI. Clark, Behrens, Bonetto, Arthur, Rodriguez and Ryan all hit doubles.

Wheaton travels to North Central College on Thursday for a 3 p.m. CCIW doubleheader in Naperville with the Cardinals. In the most recent ranking of the teams, North Central was ranked as the second-best team in the conference with a CCIW play record of 6-0 and an overall record of 20-2.


Mixed results during two doubleheaders for softball

April 12 2018

After splitting a shortened doubleheader against Benedictine University, the Wheaton College softball team lost both games in a conference doubleheader against Carroll University.

Last Thursday, April 5, Wheaton’s first game against Benedictine was quite lopsided. With a final score of 13-2, the Eagles were able to score when the Thunder simply could not. Wheaton’s only runs of the game came from a two-run homer that sophomore outfielder Maddy Bonetto hit in the bottom of the fifth; junior outfielder Beka Beherns was on base and scored.

The next day turned out to hold a very different result for both teams. This time, Wheaton emerged victorious after a 16-5 final score. Starting pitcher Kelly Thornton pitched the first 2-⅔ innings and pitched pretty well. Thornton allowed five runs, six hits and two walks and threw two strikeouts.

Earning the win, senior Kelly Kehres pitched in relief for the final 2-1/3 innings and allowed no runs, two hits and threw one strikeout.

From home plate, Wheaton’s batters were successful time and time again. Thornton spent time batting and was 2-for-3, hit a double, scored three times, drove in two runs, and had one walk. Sophomore Melody Rodriguez was 3-for-4, hit a double and drove in five runs throughout the game. Also 3-for-4 in the second game, junior shortstop Hannah Clark scored three times and had two RBI. Sophomore Maddy Bonetto also drove in three runs, and senior centerfielder Julia Arthur scored once on a 2-for-2 day herself. Senior Megan Neuhaus was 2-for-3 on the day, hit a double, drove in two runs, and scored three times. Junior outfielder Beka Behrens scored once, was 2-for-3 from the plate, and had an RBI.

Wheaton had a strong start in the bottom of the first inning by taking a 4-0 lead, and the Thunder continued to push forward with four more runs in the bottom of the second inning to pull away to an 8-0 leader. At the top of the third, the Eagles attempted a valiant comeback by scoring five runs to cut Wheaton’s lead to three runs. In the bottom of the third, Wheaton scored three runs and would go on to score five more in the bottom of the fourth.

Wheaton’s doubleheader against Carroll University on Tuesday, April 10, was quite different from their game last Friday. The Pioneers swept both games, and won the first game in dominating fashion.

The final score of the first game was 11-0 with Carroll emerging victorious after five innings thanks to a phenomenal no-hitter game by Carroll’s pitcher. After a scoreless first inning, the Pioneers scored six runs in the top of the second inning, then five runs in the top of the third.

In the second game, Wheaton was able to find the bat, make it to base and score on multiple occasions.

Sophomore infielder Morgan Ryan was 3-for-4 during the game, hit two doubles, with two RBI and one run. Neuhaus had another successful night at bat going 2-for-4 from home plate; Rodriguez, junior third-baseman Hannah Clark and Thornton all had hits as well.

Wheaton took another early lead thanks to two runs in the top of the first. Carroll retaliated in the bottom of the first inning, kept Wheaton scoreless in the top of the second, and gain a 3-2 after the bottom of the second. Wheaton tied the game at 3-3 with a third inning run.

After gaining a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the third, the Pioneers continued their offensive success with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and another in the bottom of the sixth. Thanks to a run by each team in the seventh inning, the final score ended up being 8-4.

The Wheaton women’s softball team will host another CCIW doubleheader against North Park University, this afternoon at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Then, the Thunder will travel to Millikin University on Friday, April 13, for another CCIW doubleheader that afternoon.


Rough weather and two losses for Wheaton Softball

April 5 2018

The Wheaton Softball team continued to struggle to gain momentum after losing a doubleheader to Illinois Wesleyan University last Friday, March 30.

In the first game, Wheaton looked relatively strong at the start. Junior third-baseman Hannah Clark headed Wheaton’s strong third inning play. Clark got a walk before she stole second and third base. Sophomore Melody Rodriguez’s bunt allowed Clark to score Wheaton’s first run of the game.

Senior infielder Megan Neuhaus hit an RBI-single before junior infielder/outfielder Sophie Kent was able to draw a bases-loaded walk. Neuhaus was able to put Wheaton up 4-0 after a wild pitch by IWU’s pitcher.

Junior infielder/pitcher Kelly Thornton and the Thunder defense kept IWU scoreless during the first three innings, but IWU would mount a strong comeback in the following two innings by scoring eight runs. Then in the final inning, the Titans would pull away with another run to make the final score 9-4.

In this first game, IWU had 13 hits, scoring on nine of them, and no errors. Wheaton scored four runs on their total of five hits with three errors.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Thunder had a strong start again, this time in the very first inning.

Wheaton scored two runs in the top of the first inning. The Thunder quickly loaded the bases with a one-out double by Thornton, a single by sophomore infielder Morgan Ryan and Rodriguez’s single to center field. Thornton was able to score Wheaton’s first run thanks to a big single Neuhaus, Wheaton’s fourth consecutive hit. Ryan made it to home plate after a single by sophomore outfielder Maddy Bonetto.

IWU responded with a run in the bottom of the first inning, and the Titans scored three times in the second inning, twice in the fourth inning and once in the fifth inning. Bonetto hit an RBI single in the sixth inning to cut IWU’s lead to 7-3 before IWU pulled ahead with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Wheaton would score once more in the top of the seventh inning when Clark scored after a single RBI by Ryan.

The IWU Titans are the top ranked team in the conference according to the CCIW website, and they are currently the tenth-ranked team in NCAA DIII Softball according to the most recent NFCA poll. The Thunder are currently ranked ninth in the CCIW.

Wheaton’s doubleheader on Saturday, March 31 was cancelled due to rainy conditions on that day and the game against North Park University that was scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 has been postponed to Friday, April 13 due to rainy conditions on that day as well.

The Wheaton Softball team will host a doubleheader this afternoon, Thursday, April 5, if the weather holds, against Benedictine University at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.


Softball drops doubleheader to Saint Mary’s (Ind.)

March 29 2018

The Thunder Softball team faced a tough opponent last Friday when they traveled to Notre Dame, Ind. to face the now 14-1 Saint Mary’s College Softball team.

SMU scored early with two runs in the first inning after a scoreless first inning for Wheaton. Wheaton did not score a run in any of the seven innings, but the Thunder had four hits during the game.

These hits were credited to junior Kelly Thornton, sophomore Morgan Ryan, sophomore Melody Rodriguez and senior Megan Neuhaus who all hit singles.

“We had some really key plays in the field with Melody Rodriguez throwing out several of their players trying to steal second,” sophomore outfielder Maddy Bonetto said.

Later that evening in a second game, Saint Mary’s really displayed why they only have one loss so far this season. SMU scored 10 runs in seven innings, had 16 hits and no errors. Four of their runs were in the seventh inning.
Wheaton was shut out once again, but they had six hits in the second game. The Thunder also committed two errors. Senior starting pitcher Kendall Kehres pitched all seven innings for the Thunder, while Thornton was 2-for-3 from the plate. Senior Julia Arthur, junior Sophie Kent, sophomore Maddy Bonetto and Neuhaus also each hit singles, totaling Wheaton’s six hits.

“From our games against St. Mary’s the team took away that we need to be more productive with runners in scoring position,” Bonetto said.

The Wheaton Women’s Softball team will host a CCIW doubleheader on Friday, March 30 against Illinois Wesleyan University at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. as well as a home doubleheader against Hope College on Saturday, March 31 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Illinois Wesleyan swept a doubleheader against Wheaton last season to conclude the Thunder’s 2017-18 season. Then, IWU went on to win the CCIW Softball Championships. They played six games at NCAA DIII Regional Tournament where IWU lost one game and won five. The Titans qualified for the NCAA DIII National Softball Tournament before they were eliminated after three games. With one of the strongest DIII programs in the country in their conference right now, the Thunder are looking to be more competitive in the future.

“Moving forward we are definitely going to focus more on situational hitting and how we can have every at-bat be productive in some way,” Bonetto said regarding the season’s prospects.”


Wheaton softball loses two straight doubleheader

March 22 2018

The Wheaton softball team was back in the Midwest last week and faced some tough competition. The Thunder softball players traveled to Aurora University for a doubleheader last Thursday, March 15 and lost both games. Last Saturday, March 16, Wheaton had a double header against Wartburg College.

Aurora scored 20 runs in the first game on 19 hits with two errors in the first game of the double header. Wheaton scored seven runs had 10 hits and committed one error. Senior centerfielder Julia Arthur had a pair of runs, senior Beka Behrensled was 2-for-3 batting at the plate while scoring a run. Ali Kent had a home run and was 1-for-2 batting at the plate.

In the second game, Aurora scored eight runs on 12 hits with no errors. Wheaton was only able to score one run on three hits with two errors. Sophomore Melody Rodriguez scored Wheaton’s only run of the night game.

After losing the two games to Aurora, Wheaton returned to their home field for their first two home games of the season against Wartburg College. In the first game, Wartburg College scored six runs on seven hits with no errors while Wheaton scored three runs on seven hits with two errors. Junior Kelly Thornton pitched all seven innings of the first game, and she allowed seven runs, seven hits, four walks and four earned runs.

The Thunder’s overall record so far this season is 3-11, and they are on a four-game losing streak. However, the Thunder started out last years first 11 games 2-12.

The Wheaton Thunder softball team will travel to Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. for a game at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23.


Ten games in Florida for Wheaton softball

March 15 2018

While many students were relaxing during spring break, the Wheaton Thunder Softball team was hard at work at a tournament in Clermont, Florida. During the NTC Spring Games tournament, the Thunder played 10 games, going 3-7.

The Thunder opened their season Saturday, Mar. 3 against the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Wheaton fell to MSOE 1-3. Senior Kendall Kehres pitched for the Thunder, taking the loss. Senior Megan Neuhaus hit a double. Senior Julia Arthur, sophomore Melody Rodriguez and juniors Hannah Clark and Ali Kent all added singles. In their second game of the day, the Thunder lost to Eastern Nazarene 5-3. Junior Kelly Thornton was Wheaton’s starting pitcher, taking the loss after throwing six innings. Thornton played from both the pitcher’s mound and home plate, going three-for-four and gaining a double and two RBIs. Junior Sophie Kent also contributed a double. Neuhaus and Rodriguez both gained singles.

Monday, Mar. 5 marked the second day of the NTC Spring Games. Wheaton first faced off against Simpson College, falling 4-6. Kehres was again the starting pitcher, giving up eight hits and earning a strikeout. Thornton showed up at home plate with a double. Rodriguez and sophomore Morgan Ryan each contributed singles. Later that afternoon, the Thunder were beaten in four innings by the Dominican University Stars 1-10. Thornton pitched the first inning, giving up eight runs. Freshman Maddy Whitmer pitched the last three innings. Neuhaus, Thornton and Ryan all batted singles while Clark hit a double.

On the third day of competition, Wheaton came out victorious against Saint Vincent college, winning 7-5. Thornton started the game, pitching five and one-third innings. Kehres took over in the final one and two-thirds innings, earning the win. Thornton batted three-for-three at the plate, hitting a double and a home run. Clark and junior Beka Behrens both made contact twice, earning a run and RBI, respectively. Arthur and Rodriguez both gained doubles. The Thunder ended the day on a low note, losing 4-7 to the Franklin Grizzlies in their second game of the day. Kehres threw for all seven innings. Clark hit three-for-three, hitting a triple for the Thunder. Ryan got a double while Thornton and Rodriguez collected singles.

The Thunder got a break on Wednesday and resumed play Thursday, Mar. 8. Wheaton opened against Alvernia, losing 4-5. Thornton was the starting pitcher, working six innings. Kehres pitched the remainder of the game, which went into extra innings after the seventh ended with a 4-4 tie. Thornton hit a solo home run, Whitmer added an RBI-double and Clark earned a single for the Thunder. After a close first game, the Thunder faced off against Eastern Nazarene for the second time of the week, this time coming out with a 6-2 victory. Kehres worked all seven innings, earning the win. Ryan made contact twice to score a run. Clark hit a pair of singles and snagged a stolen base. Thornton hit a double to score twice. Neuhaus, Rodriguez, Behrens and S. Kent all contributed singles.

Wheaton closed out the final day of their spring break competition by splitting their final two games. In the morning, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute toppled the Thunder 3-1. Kehres pitched all six innings, giving up three runs and earning four strikeouts. Clark was two-for-three at the plate with one RBI and Neuhaus made contact twice. The Thunder continued on to face Simpson College, winning 9-8. Thornton pitched the first half of the game, with Kehres taking over for the second half. Thornton hit a double and gained two walks. Clark had two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base. Ryan also gained two RBIs and a double.

The Thunder returned to campus with a record of 3-7. Clark was named CCIW Hitter of the Week after her impressive performance during spring break. Wheaton will pick up the bats again at Aurora University, Thursday, Mar. 15 with the opening pitch at 4 p.m. The Thunder return to Ruth Leedy Field on Saturday, Mar. 17 to face off against Wartburg College at 1 p.m.


Ellen Radandt-Stremler: Women’s Softball Head Coach

August 31, 2017

How long have you been coaching?

This is my second year coaching, first as a head coach. Last year I was an assistant coach for Hope College in Holland, Mich.

What is the most important part of your job?

Creating a culture amongst players and coaches that values the person and their development as much as we do winning games.

Why were you interested in working at Wheaton?

I graduated from Wheaton and appreciate the way we are serious about our faith in Jesus Christ while simultaneously striving to be excellent in all areas of life, including academics and athletics.

When did you decide to become a coach?

I have wanted to be in coaching for most of my life. Softball is my passion and I want to spend the rest of my life around the game and the people that play it.

Who is a different (professional, college, high school or childhood) coach you look(ed) up to?

My high school coach from Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Casey Jarvis, is someone that I have always looked up to. I love the way that she brings knowledge and intensity to the game but also creates an authentic environment of emotional and spiritual growth with players in her program.

Why do you thinking coaching is important to the body of Christ?

Coaching specifically at the collegiate level is important to the body of Christ because students are learning about who they are and who they want to be. So to be a part of that and help guide athletes in the ways and teachings of Christ is an incredible opportunity to change the world.

What is one word that you would use to describe yourself?


Softball Recap

It has been a rough season in Ruth Leedy Stadium for the Softball team. Coming off a pretty impressive year, the young team hoped to step up and fill the shoes of some big-name seniors from last year. Instead, with no senior leadership the team struggled to find a rhythm and win even two consecutive games this year. The Thunder currently sit at 8-28 overall with half those wins coming from in conference play and only three from their home field. Some blame the construction of the new welcome center next door for the team’s record, and yet others say the old lady who lives in the white house just beyond the fence hexed the field with a confundus charm. No one on or off the team could confirm or deny either allegation for The Record.

This past week, the softball team went 2-2, splitting double headers against Augustana and Elmhurst. On Saturday, sophomore Sophie Kent smashed a whopping walk-off home run down the left field line for her first career homer to put the Thunder up 4-3 in the 7th inning and clinch the W for Ohioan junior Kendall Kehres. The girls dropped the second game 0-9 in a tough second game. On Wednesday, the Thunder won the first game and lost the second to Elmhurst at home as Kehres snagged another win in a complete game effort.

The story for next year is leadership — something the team lacked this year in the absence of seniors. Much like in the men’s basketball team, the Class of 2017 never stepped up to the plate to assume a place of leadership and left a gaping hole for a few younger players to fill. There are positives to filling more places on the team with younger players as this year many girls could hone their skills and enjoy solid playing time as underclassmen. Next year, the team will have a few seniors to lead with the inherent wisdom that comes from having already finished most of your Gen Ed requirements.

Throughout this season, the team built a lot of chemistry through fun traditions like blasting music through the speaker system, team prayer and team burn bracelets. The intentional community abounds and next year is a new year at Ruth Leedy Stadium with tons of potential for improvement and another shot at the CCIW title. There’s always next year, but this one is pretty much in the books as a learning experience for the softball team.

Down on their luck

The Wheaton softball team has been hard at work this spring, having played 28 games since their season opener in March. Unfortunately, that hard work has yet to pay off. With a dismal record of 5-23, only 5 teams stand between the Thunder and the end of their season. Like the rest of Wheaton’s students, the team is facing their final stretch of the year.

On April 13, the Thunder travelled into Chicago to face off against the University of Chicago Maroons for a double-header. The Maroons bested the Thunder 8-1 in the opener. The Maroons scored eight runs on 15 hits, with one error. Wheaton, on the other hand, had one run on three hits, with no errors. The Thunder’s starting pitcher was junior Kendall Kehres. During her six innings, Kehres gave the Maroons all eight of their runs and hits, in addition to two walks and two strikeouts.

For the second game of the afternoon, Wheaton fell to Chicago 2-1. The Thunder struck early, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Maroons scored two runs in the bottom of the second, with each team remaining scoreless for the rest of the games. The Thunder switched their starting pitcher to Jaclyn McLean. The sophomore allowed two runs on four hits. The Thunder managed to get one run on three hits.

On this season’s tough losses, McLean explained, “We have hit rough patches along the way just from being a small young team.” McLean does hold hope for the rest of the season, believing that the Thunder can at least split the rest of their games.

April 18, the Thunder split their doubleheader against Carroll. Game one went to the Pioneers with a score of 11-1. Carroll had 11 runs on 13 hits, while the Thunder had only one run on two hits. McLean pitched for the Thunder, losing the game in four innings. Game two went to the Thunder 6-3, however. Kehres pitched all nine innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Wheaton scored their six runs on seven hits. In the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Kelly Thornton hit a game-winning three-run homer to give the Thunder an exciting victory.

Wheaton will be at home April 25 in a doubleheader against Elmhurst at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thunder helping hands

Soft hands are crucial for any good softball team. The ability to field a sizzler off the infield, transfer to the throwing hand and whip an accurate toss over to first can make or break a team’s performance. The softball team spends a lot of time developing their hands in practice, in games and year-round preparing for a big season, but the softball team also sees the importance of their hands as a team and as sisters in Christ.

“We wear burn bracelets year-round as a team,” sophomore Sophie Kent explained. The players use a special type of cord that can be sealed together by burning the tips with fire until the two ends forge. It’s a permanent reminder of team unity and team inclusion that holds a special place in the hearts of many teammates. In this way, every player on the team is united by a cord wrapped around their wrist.

The players also join hands after every practice to pray as a team and offer up thanks to the Lord for the joy that is softball. After each game the girls join hands with the opposing team, win or lose, to pray together and show unity amongst opponents. It is through the power of open and inviting hands that the softball team seeks to make an impression that goes beyond seven innings. It is through united hands that the softball team attempts to shine a light wherever they go.

Last Friday, the team traveled to the city for a heated double header against North Park in which they lost the first game in the 10th inning, but then snuck out the second in a big 3-2 victory. Wednesday night, the girls traveled to Kenosha and dropped both games to Carthage as sophomore Kelly Thornton scored the Thunder’s only run in 10 total innings.

This Thursday, the girls travel to Hyde Park to battle the Maroons of the University of Chicago hoping to avoid a third consecutive mercy rule. So far soft hands have not been enough to garner more than a 5-21 record, but the Thunder continue to open their hands game in and game out to promote unity and spread joy through softball.