Softball downs Valparaiso in home opener, ends losing streak
The bats were hot for the Central Michigan softball team early and often as they cruised to a 8-3 win over Valparaiso in the 2018 home opener.
Senior catcher Maison Kalina led the Chippewas with a single, double and four runs batted in. The Chippewas (10-15, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) snapped a four-game losing skid.
“I think being back at home had me more comfortable in the box,” Kalina said. “We found a way to score runs with a squeeze bunt, power hits and speed. It all came together today.”
Head coach Margo Jonker said the team felt relieved just to be back in Mount Pleasant.
“It’s great to be home,” Jonker said. “It’s a long on the road deal when you’re a northern team in softball. Having decent weather and people in the stands made us feel better today.”
The Chippewas got the bats moving early. Junior first baseman Erika Underwood singled which scored senior outfielder Lacy Tolfree. That was followed by an RBI single from sophomore infielder Morgan Gardner to put CMU ahead 2-0 after the first inning.
The Crusaders battled back in the top of the third inning. Freshman utility player Brittany Anderson gave UV the lead on a two RBI double. It was 3-2 Crusaders.
In the bottom half of the same inning, CMU regained the lead. Senior catcher Maison Kalina singled to center field and scored two more. The Chippewas led 4-3 heading to the fourth frame.
CMU never lost the lead again. Kalina hit a double in the bottom of the sixth inning to blow the game wide open at 7-3.
Tolfree and redshirt junior outfielder Sara Hansen had three hits apiece while Hansen also added an RBI. As a team, CMU totaled 13 hits.
Senior pitcher Taylor Weaver (1-5) earned the victory in relief of starter senior Hanna Warren. Weaver went 4.1 innings to close the game, allowing two hits and no runs.
“I think I had confidence and went right at (UV) today,” Weaver said. “I knew we would put some runs on the board and we did, so I was able to stay ahead of hitters.”
The Chippewas will remain at home for a three-game homestand against Miami (Ohio). First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. on March 30 at Margo Jonker Stadium.