The Purdue University Calumet softball team scored a stellar finish to cap the Gulf Shores Invitational Sunday, defeating both Georgia Gwinnett and No. 16 Central Methodist in thrilling fashion to capture the Bronze Bracket Title.
Purdue Calumet (4-3) topped Central Methodist 6-5 on a walk-off RBI single by Ashley Adams (Lafayette, Ind./Central Catholic), just after beating Georgia Gwinnett, which is receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 Preseason Poll, 6-1 – largely in part to freshman Kaitlyn Skarecky’s (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) fifth-inning grand slam.
The Peregrines will take two days off before traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Fisk University in a doubleheader March 11.
PURDUE CALUMET 6, #16 CENTRAL METHODIST 5
With the bases loaded and one out, senior Ashley Adams came through with a clutch hit up the middle to score the game-winner in thrilling fashion, as the Peregrines held off a hard-hitting Eagles (7-5) squad which tied the game at 5-all in the top of the seventh.
Senior Skyler Woods (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) led the Peregrines with a perfect 5-for-5 performance at the plate, two runs and a double. Freshman Alex Morales (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) added three hits – including a double and the first home run of her career – and Adams finished with three hits and two RBI to lead the Peregrines.
Purdue Calumet took an early lead, plating one run in the first when Woods, who doubled, was walked in with the bases loaded. The Peregrines would add two more in the second, led by Morales’ inning-opening solo shot over the left-field fence. Woods singled and scored on a Adams double to make it 3-0 Peregrines before that lead was built to four in the fourth on a Leah Hall (Catlin, Ill./Catlin) RBI.
But the Eagles didn’t fold, using three home runs – by Bri Boatwright, Lauren Geringer and Jessie Wilmes – to tie the game at 5-all heading into the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Karlie McCullough (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) reached base on an infield single, senior Alicia Ward (Mishawaka, Ind./Jimtown) was hit by a pitch and Woods singled to load the bases to set up Adams’ heroics.
Sophomore Samantha Oppenhuis (Munster, Ind./Illiana Christian) added an RBI walk in the sixth and freshman Kellie Mink (Stilesville, Ind./Stilesville) picked up the win in the circle in what was a team effort, as Mink (3.0 innings, four strikeouts, one earned run) started the game and was replaced in the second, but later re-entered in the sixth to snag her first victory of her career.
PURDUE CALUMET 6, GEORGIA GWINNETT 1
Georgia Gwinnet (10-8) took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning that would hold until the fifth, when freshman Kaitlyn Skarecky belted her first career home run when it mattered – with the bases loaded.
The Peregrines scored all six runs in the inning, as Alicia Ward started the offense with an RBI single and Skyler Woods added another RBI base-knock to set up Skarecky, who hit the grand slam with one out.
Senior Alison Kimble (Greenup, Ill./Greenup) then shut out the Eagles for the rest of the way, allowing just two more hits in the final two innings to help seal the win. Ward also helped matters on the defensive end, as the centerfielder gunned down a Georgia Gwinnett runner attempting to score at home plate, where Skarecky applied the tag.
Kimble picked up her second win of the season in the circle, scattering five hits, striking out two and allowing just one earned run.
Skarecky finished 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBI and Ward and Woods added the other two hits for the Peregrines, who finished with five hits.