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.