The Waldorf University softball team salvaged a split with Dordt College during Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Kaylie Brindley tossed a three-hit gem to guide the Warriors (13-17) to a 4-1 victory in the opener while the Defenders (15-14) rebounded with a 9-3 win during the nightcap.
Taking a win from a team that competes in the always-dominant Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) is never an easy task, but Waldorf was up for the challenge.
“Dordt is a good team who plays a lot of tough competition, so that was a good split,” Waldorf coach Lexy Determan said.
Brindley (8-8) delivered a masterful performance to earn the complete-game win inside the pitcher’s circle during the opener. The junior from Earlham notched six strikeouts, issued just one walk and yielded one run in seven innings.
Junior Hattie Hupke led the Warriors, going 2-for-4 with a two-run double. Freshmen Nichole Oberthien and Taylor Navratil provided RBI singles. Junior Kennedy Vinchattle and Payge Jurgens contributed singles as Waldorf collected six hits.
Dordt’s Michal Huizenga finished 2-for-3 with a double and Summer Jansen turned in a run-scoring single.
Tianna Top (9-6) was hit with the loss. She struck out six batters, walked two and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits before exiting after five innings. Marlia Mundorf pitched the sixth inning for the Defenders.
It was smooth sailing most of the way as Brindley and the Warrior defense retired Dordt in order during all but two innings.
Brindley only found herself in a jam during the top of the second inning. The Defenders loaded the bases with one out, but Brindley and her teammates fended off the threat. After recording a force-out at home plate, Brindley fanned the final batter of the inning to deny Dordt.
Hupke put the Warriors in front, smacking a two-run double during their half of the second.
Waldorf built a 4-0 lead in the third as Oberthien and Navratil singled in runs during the Warriors’ four-hit inning.
A sixth-inning single from Jansen scored the lone run for the Defenders, who were sat down in order during the seventh.
Solid pitching continued for Waldorf in the nightcap, but five costly errors proved to be too much to overcome.
“Our pitchers all pitched well,” Determan said. “We need to eliminate a couple of the errors to keep us in that second game.”
Jurgens blasted a solo home run and finished with two RBIs in Game 2. Senior Mattea Lovato produced an RBI single while senior Brittani Sanchez, junior Briley Sullivan and Vinchattle aided the Warriors with singles.
Despite being held to five hits, Waldorf created strong contact at the plate and had the Defenders on their heels throughout the contest.
“I really thought we couldn’t have hit the ball any harder in the second game,” Determan said. “We just kept lining out right to them. If we keep hitting like that, they will definitely start to fall.”
Hailey Heeringa powered Dordt, going 2-for-3 with a solo homer and three RBIs. Huizenga plated a 2-for-4 performance with a run-scoring single. Hope Veldkamp tallied a pair of hits and Carley DeRoin smashed a two-run shot to help the Defenders crank out nine hits.
Dordt’s Rachel Evavold (3-2) scored the win. She gave up a walk and three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings of work. Top closed out the final inning for the Defenders.
Waldorf junior McKenna Marcinkowski (1-3) was handed the loss. She recorded two strikeouts, a walk and surrendered five runs (three earned) on five hits in three and one-third innings.
Sullivan came on to relive for the final three and two-thirds innings. She struck out one, walked two and relinquished four runs (one earned) on four hits.
Heeringa went deep with a two-out solo homer in the first.
DeRoin drove in a run on a second-inning groundout.
Veldkamp scored on a throwing error in the third to push Dordt to a 3-0 lead.
DeRoin launched a solo shot to lead off the fourth and Heeringa cracked an RBI single to give the Defenders a five-run advantage.
Jurgens put the Warriors on the board, crushing a solo homer to lead off the fifth. It marked the fifth long ball of the season for freshman from Collins.
Dordt put together a four-run sixth, pulling away for a 9-1 lead behind two hits and two errors. Heeringa connected for an RBI sacrifice fly, Huizenga singled in a run, Corinne Valdix added an RBI sac fly and Stephanie Westra later scored on a fielding error.
Jurgens knocked in a run while reaching on a fielder’s choice during Waldorf’s half of the sixth and Lovato belted an RBI single.
Although there was plenty of contact at the plate, the Warriors needed more production to keep pace with the Defenders.
“I will always ask for more intensity from our girls,” Determan said. “I think we need to continue to do a better job to transition in between innings and definitely transition between games.”
Waldorf, which owns a 7-11 record in North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) play, returns to conference action against Viterbo University (11-23, 8-6) in a four-game series at La Crosse, Wis. The Warriors open the series with the V-Hawks on Wednesday in a 4 p.m. twin bill and play the final two-game set on Thursday at 12 p.m.
“We have a huge conference series coming up this week,” Determan said. “These were good games against a good opponent to get us rolling into those tough conference games.”