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.