Western Illinois defeated Valparaiso 5-2 in the opening game of the doubleheader then rallied late for a 3-2 victory in the nightcap to spoil Senior Day for the Crusaders on Saturday afternoon at the Valparaiso University Softball Field.
The Westerwinds struck in the opening inning of game one, plating a pair of runs. Melissa Dempsky's bunt singled brought home Cassandra Hallstrom and Hannah Tull's sacrifice fly scored the other run. Tull's run scoring single in the third increased the lead to 3-0.
In the fourth, Jessica Stanforth doubled home pinch runner Sammi Smith and Tull crossed the plate in the fifth as a result of a fielding error.
Valpo cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth as Amy Mitchell's (Star, Idaho/Eagle H.S.) RBI fielder's choice plated Ali Butlman (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.). Amanda Gilbertson (Murrieta, Calif./West Albany H.S., Ore.) singled home Stephanie Reinke (Parker, Colo./J.K. Mullen H.S.) to cut the lead to three, but that was as close as the Crusaders would get.
Becky Sullivan picked up her third victory of the weekend for Western Illinois, striking out seven and allowing just five hits. Gilbertson took the loss, striking out three.
In game two Valpo struck first. A throwing error allowed Bridget Schwoegler (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) to score and unearned run in the top of the third. The Crusaders added to their lead in the fifth as Gilbertson singled through the right side to plate Kelly Smoker (Kalamazoo, Mich./Comstock H.S.).
It appeared as if Valpo (7-31, 3-12 Mid-Con) was poised for the upset, however the Westerwinds rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Marueen Troller singled home one and Becky Tyrrell plated two on her single.
Lindsay Tasker went the distance yielding four hits for the victory for the Westerwinds (25-23, 9-7), while Brittany Atteberry (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) was the hard-luck loser for Valpo. The sophomore allowed just five hits and threw just 60 pitches in the complete game effort.
Valparaiso returns to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon when they travel to #21 Illinois for a 4 p.m. doubleheader.