Softball warming up after cold start

Elijah Lossner

The IU Southeast softball team swept two games of a double header, both in walk-off fashion, against the Crimson Wave of Calumet College of St. Joseph, on Saturday afternoon at the Koetter Sports Softball Complex.

Senior pitcher Jenna Swain slings a fast ball in to an opposing hitter during Saturday's double header.  Swain went 10-3 last year with a team high 99 strikeouts.

Senior pitcher Jenna Swain slings a fast ball in to an opposing hitter during Saturday’s double header. Swain went 10-3 last year with a team high 99 strikeouts.

The Grenadiers began the season ranked number one in the KIAC (Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) coaches poll and are the returning KIAC champions from last year. However, they have gotten off to a slower start than expected at 8-7, and 1-1 in conference play.

Much of that may have something to do with the bad weather early in the season. The Grenadiers have had six games postponed and 13 games cancelled due to weather conditions. First season head coach Joe Witten talked about how the weather has affected his team.

“It hasn’t allowed us to get into any kind of rhythm and really see what our potential can be,” said Witten. “Everybody is kind of behind the eight ball right now, but a day like this is really going to help build our confidence.”

The Grenadiers had to battle back in both games to win. In game one they dug themselves a hole falling down 2-0, only to tie it at 2-2. They then gave up another run in the top of the next inning only to grab a run right back in the bottom half, to tie it up again at 3-3.

That set the stage for the last inning drama in the bottom of the seventh, when Katelyn Heines, freshman second baseman, led off with a bunt single. After a sacrifice bunt moved Heines to second, Jade Detzer, senior outfielder, hit a fly-ball to right field. Heines was tagging on the play and the throw to third was wild allowing Heines to sprint home with the winning run.

Heines, who scored the winning run, went 2 for 3 and freshman Jessica Leanhart was the winning pitcher. Leanhart pitched seven strong innings giving up only one earned run while striking out nine. She improved to 5-2 on the season.

Game number two took extra innings to decide a winner.

Senior Jenna Swain took the mound for the Grenadiers in this one and got into trouble in the second inning. She loaded the bases with only one out, but managed to get out of the jam without surrendering a run.

Swain avoided damage again in the third when the Crimson Wave put their first two batters on with no outs before ultimately grounding into an inning ending double play.

The Crimson Wave finally got to Swain in the top of the fourth when senior outfielder, Jasmine Rivera, singled in the first run of the game.

The Crimson Wave did more damage in the fifth. After a wild pitch scored a runner from third, a sacrifice fly scored another run from third, pushing the lead to 3-0.

The Grenadiers finally broke through in the bottom half of the fifth, when freshman catcher/outfielder, Shelby Lucas smacked a two out triple to score their first of the game, but the Crimson Wave took the run right back in the top of the sixth on a Rivera homerun giving them a 4-1 lead.

The score was the same until the bottom of the seventh. With one out and nobody on base, freshman outfielder/shortstop, Morgan Klosterman singled to get things started. Doubles by sophomore Sarah Richey and Lucas cut the lead to only two, with the tying runs on second and third with two outs and Leanhart coming to the plate as a pinch-hitter.

The winning pitcher from the first game singled home both runs to tie the game at 4-4 sending the game into extra innings.

 Freshman second baseman Katelyn Heines slides into home for the winning run in game two of the Grenadiers Saturday sweep of the Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Freshman second baseman Katelyn Heines slides into home for the winning run in game two of the Grenadiers Saturday sweep of the Calumet College of St. Joseph.

The game wasn’t decided until the bottom of the ninth. Heines led off the inning with a double, and in stepped sophomore Leah Podgomy. Podgomy is a transfer from Calumet College of St. Joseph and with one swing of the bat she beat her former team with a walk-off single that sent Heines sliding into home plate with the winning run.

After the game, Podgomy talked about beating her former team with a walk-off hit.

“It felt great, I don’t even know how to put it into words actually,” said Podgomy. “I’d been struggling at the beginning of the year with hitting, so to get up against this team and be able to get the game winning hit was pretty awesome.”

Witten talked about the wins today coming from contributions from the whole team.

“Fortunately today a lot of people had opportunities and the ones that executed when the game was on the line are typically not the ones that have been out there a lot of the times,” said Witten. “That was special and it was really nice to see them performing as a total team effort.”
The Grenadiers hit the road for their next six games with a Thursday double header at Ohio Christian University starting at 4 p.m. They next play at home on Wed. April 2 with a double header against conference rival Berea at 2 p.m.