Bombs Away!! William Penn Tightens Up League Race with Home-Run Fests
Des Moines–Eight Statesmen home runs were crushed on Wednesday as the WPU softball program got back into the league title conversation with a doubleheader sweep over Grand View.
William Penn (26-13, 12-4 MCC) won by scores of 14-9 and 16-7 (5 innings) to narrow the Viking lead to just one game in the loss column.
The visitors scored right out of the gate when Brittanee Grove (Jr., Runnells, Iowa, Elementary Education) singled home Malloree Grove (Sr., Runnells, Iowa, Physical Education) in the first inning of the opener.
Unfortunately, Grand View (24-15, 15-3 MCC) battled back with six unanswered runs, including four in the first and two more in the second.
The rest of the contest, however, was dominated by the Statesmen as they posted 20 hits, beginning with three base knocks in a two-run third frame. Following Brittanee Grove’s two-out triple, Bri Zerley (Jr., Monroe, Iowa, Biology) brought in both players with a home run. The squad really erupted in the next inning, though, putting six across, highlighted by a grand slam from Sydney Edwards (Jr., Galesburg, Ill., Psychology & Biology) (her fourth) and a two-run shot by Jessica Christensen (So., Marysville, Wash., Sociology) to take the lead for good.
Leading 9-6, WPU managed one more in the fifth with an RBI single by Edwards, while run-scoring singles by Steviee Grove (Sr., Runnells, Iowa, History/Government) and pinch-hitter Veronica Castro (Sr., Riverside, Calif., Elementary Education) were key to the three-run sixth frame.
The home squad narrowed the margin to 13-9 in the bottom half of the sixth as Jennifer Whitehead (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Biology) was roughed up in the win. The senior (17-4) allowed nine runs (six earned) on eight hits, while striking out four and walking four (three hit-by-pitches).
Whitehead’s teammates were fortunately just too much at the plate with Zerley capping the stout performance with her second home run–a solo shot–in the seventh. Zerley now has six homers this spring.
Edwards finished 4-for-5 with six RBIs, while Zerley was 4-for-5 as well with four runs scored and three runs. Christensen went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Malloree Grove (two runs) and Brittanee Grove both had 2-for-5 outings. All of William Penn’s starters recorded at least one hit.
The nightcap was much of the same with Brittanee Grove starting things off with a two-run first-inning home run. The junior leads WPU with 12 HRs.
Christensen matched Grove with another long ball, recording three runs on her third-inning hit. She has left the park three times this season. Jorden Steele (Jr., Tacoma, Wash., Physical Education) got into the action one batter later with a solo home run and then added another three-run roundtripper (her sixth of 2014) as part of the five-run fourth frame.
The Vikings tried to make it interesting with three tallies in the third and four more in the fourth, but the Statesmen turned it into a mercy-run win with five scores in the fifth inning. Seven WPU starters had at least one base knock as the victorious squad managed 17 hits in game #2.
Brittanee Grove finished 4-for-4 with four runs scored and three RBIs, while Christensen was also perfect (2-for-2, two walks) with four RBIs and three runs scored. Steele’s 3-for-4 showing included five RBIs and three runs scored. Zerley was also 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Edwards scored three times and Steviee Grove drove in two runs with a pinch-hit single in the fifth.
William Penn’s eight home runs break an unofficial school record for most in a double dip (previous high was seven on March 30, 2008 vs. Iowa Wesleyan). They are also the most in back-to-back games since WPU had nine on March 26 & 29, 2008 (6 vs. St. Ambrose; 3 vs. Clarke).
Brittanee Grove threw the first 2 2/3 frames to gain the win. She permitted three runs (all earned) on four hits (two walks) to improve to 5-4, while Whitehead was again touched up a bit, this time out of the bullpen. The senior gave up four runs (all earned) on two hits (2 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HBP).
Next: William Penn travels to Chicago, Ill. Friday to face #10 Saint Xavier in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.