WPU Rallies Past Evangel for Extra-Inning Win, Advance in Tourney

Cedar Rapids–The Statesmen softball team found a variety of creative ways to score as it knocked off #4 seed Evangel 5-4 in the opening game of Heart of America Athletic Conference Championship Thursday.

#5 seed William Penn (26-21) will now face #1 seed Central Methodist in the winner’s bracket Friday at noon. With the win over EU, the Statesmen exacted a bit of revenge as they were knocked out of last year’s tournament by the Valor (also in an extra-inning game).

WPU, which outhit the Valor 7-6, also took advantage of four Evangel fielding errors.

The navy and gold quickly fell into a hole, permitting one run in the bottom of the first. Despite putting runners in scoring position, they came up short of an answer in the second frame. They did, however, finally get on the board in the fourth, beginning with Valeria Quiroga (Jr., Brownsville, Texas, Sociology) getting on the pads via an error.

Chelsey Huff (Fr., Douds, Iowa, Exercise Science) then reached on a single, while Charley Geguzis (So., Williamsburg, Iowa) loaded the bases with another one-bagger. Nayely Martinez (So., Carson, Calif.) followed with a walk to bring in pinchrunner Tianna Soto (Sr., Fontana, Calif.) to tie the game, and Jayde Tucker (Sr., Los Alamos, N.M., Sociology) put her squad on top 2-1 as she was hit by pitch with the bases still packed.

The lead unfortunately did not last long as the Valor knotted the contest in the bottom half and then went ahead 3-2 in the fifth inning.

WPU was retired in order in the sixth and were in jeopardy of falling into the loser’s bracket after a slow start to the seventh inning. Abby Wilson (Jr., Calgary, Alberta, Biology) earned a free trip to first after being hit by pitch, but the Statesmen were quickly down to their last out. Fortunately, Quiroga, who was named to the Heart’s first team on Thursday, was coming to the plate.

The junior fouled off numerous pitches before eventually keeping one between the lines and driving it to left-center to plate Wilson with the tying run. Huff, who was also William Penn’s starting pitcher, walked one EU batter in the bottom of the seventh, but left her stranded at first to force extra play.

The Statesmen immediately found success in the eight with Huff and Geguzis posting singles. Martinez then slipped a shot through the left side of the infield, which would have loaded the bases, but the left fielder bobbled the ball, allowing Geguzis and pinchrunner Ella Pierce (Fr., McClelland, Iowa, Business Management) to come home.

Up 5-3, WPU was just three outs away from taking the victory, but the Valor refused to go quietly as the leadoff batter cleared the fence to cut the advantage in half. Huff induced a groundout, but a walk put the tying run on base. The navy and gold were bailed out, though, as the runner was then called out for leaving first base early on a steal attempt for the second out.

An error permitted the tying run to again get on the pads, but Huff shut it down with a game-ending strikeout to give the Statesmen the victory. It was the freshman’s eighth strikeout of the day against three walks.

Huff also guided William Penn at the dish as she and Geguzis tallied two hits each. Geguzis also scored twice, while Martinez got on base via a hit and a walk as well.

“This team never quits,” Head Coach Mike Christner said. “We played through rain the whole game and they just kept competing. I am so proud of them.”

Posted by on May 6 2022. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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