Webb Wins Horizon League Golfer of the Week
After enjoying the best performance of his collegiate career this weekend, Valparaiso University senior Peter Webb (Madison, Wis. / James Madison Memorial) was honored as the Horizon League Golfer of the Week on Wednesday.
Webb won an event for the first time in his Crusader career, taking medalist honors at the Hoosier Invitational, which took place on Saturday and Sunday. He posted a 206 (-7), three strokes ahead of the nearest competitor in a 78-player field. He became the first Crusader to take medalist honors since September 2014. His 206 marked a career watermark and matched a 54-hole program record.
“It was a special day for Pete, and for his parents and brother to be able to watch and enjoy the individual victory was tremendous,” Valpo head coach Dave Gring said. “Peter drove the ball well all weekend, hit a lot of greens in regulation and got the ball close to the hole. When you combine that type of ball-striking and making a number of putts from 10-15 feet, it was the right combination for scoring low. Peter has worked on his game very diligently this spring and it is really paying off for him at this time.”
Webb led the event in Par 4 scoring at 3.79 and in birdies with 17. He posted a 65 in Round 1 of the event, matching the program record and establishing a career best for single-round scoring.
Webb followed by turning in another impressive performance at the Wright State Invitational on Monday and Tuesday, tying for third at 212 (-1).
This marks Webb’s fifth career weekly honor from the league office and his first this season. He most recently won the Golfer of the Week distinction on March 23, 2016.
Inclement Weather Cancels Wednesday’s Game Between Crusaders, Broncos
The Valparaiso University baseball team has announced the cancellation of Wednesday’s scheduled game against Western Michigan due to anticipated inclement weather.
The Crusaders (10-16, 1-5 Horizon) are scheduled to host Northern Kentucky on Friday in the home opener, Game 1 of a three-game Horizon League series at Emory G. Bauer Field. The first pitch is slated for 3 p.m. and can be heard on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders Close Wright State Invitational with Team’s Strongest Round of Event
The Valparaiso University men’s golf team posted a 363 on the final day of competition, tied for the second-best Round 3 score in the Wright State Invitational on Tuesday. The Crusaders finished fourth in the six-team event with a 54-hole score of 1,109. The Crusaders finished six strokes behind Northern Kentucky and seven strokes in back of the host Raiders. Valpo finished ahead of Green Bay and Loyola.
How It Happened
- Peter Webb (Madison, Wis. / James Madison Memorial) had his best round of the tournament, posting a 68 to lead the way for the Crusaders on Tuesday. He tied for third in the tournament with a three-round score of 212.
- Nick Seitz (Xenia, Ohio / Carrol) and Zach Cutler (O’Fallon, Mo. / Timberland) each stroked 72s for the Crusaders on Tuesday. Seitz finished at 220 over the two days, tied for 14th in the tournament. Cutler’s 72 was his best round of the event, allowing him to finish 30th at 226.
- Michael Doherty (Lisle, Ill. / Naperville North) was sandwiched between Seitz and Cutler in the overall standings, as he tied for 22nd at 224. Doherty carded a 74 in Tuesday’s final round.
- Mitchell Wittmann (Kaukauna, Wis. / Kaukauna) notched a 77 and tied for 43rd at 231, while Adam Baracani (Normal, Ill. / University) posted a 79 to place 50th at 235.
- Jeremy Wu (Medford, Ore. / St. Mary’s) had his best round of the event with a 74 on Tuesday. He golfed as an individual and finished at 227, tied for 31st.
- Michael Kinsella (Northbrook, Ill. / Glenbrook North) also golfed as an individual and finished at 244 after scoring an 84 in Round 3. He placed 58th.
Inside the Rounds
- Wittenberg won the event going away with a 1080, 22 strokes ahead of second-place Wright State.
- For the second straight event, the Crusaders had an eagle, this time delivered by Webb on Hole 14 of Round 3.
- Seitz led the Crusaders and tied for third in the tournament with five birdies. As a team, the Crusaders had 14 birdies.
- Cutler carded 15 pars, tied for first in the tournament.
- Webb performed well on Par 4 holes, finishing three strokes under par and averaging 3.73. He led the invitational in Par 4 scoring.
Thoughts from Head Coach Dave Gring
"It was a very encouraging weekend with our tournament at Wright State on many fronts. First, our final round today was one of our best rounds and our best finish to a tournament all year. Secondly, we have improved our team score each round in three of our five tournaments this spring and in our last two tournaments. We emphasize playing better throughout the tournament and the guys are showing that this spring. Lastly, five of our eight players had their best tournament of the spring - Seitz, Wu, Kinsella, Cutler and Doherty."
"The tournament format was unique, scoring the best five out of six players. The format allowed us to showcase some of our depth and also have a good portion of the team competing. The weather today was challenging with temps in the mid-50s and wind gusts from 15-20 mph. The guys really played hard all day and the ball striking continued to improve as the tournament progressed."
"We played six rounds of competitive golf in the past four days and the two tournaments were a tremendous boost to our confidence. We know what areas we need to work on over the next 10 days prior to our next event. The guys are really hungry to keep competing and finishing the season strong."
"Our two captains led the way for us in this tournament and it was really good to see nine birdies and an eagle out of the two of them today. Both Nick and Peter continue to play with a lot of confidence and they are a terrific encouragement to the rest of the team."
The Crusaders will hit the links again on April 14 as they partake in the Earl Yetingsmeier Memorial Invitational on Delaware C.C.
Crusaders Edge Redbirds in 12-Inning Marathon
It took longer than the regulation nine innings, but the Valparaiso University baseball team grabbed its first one-run win of the season on Tuesday night at Illinois State. A go-ahead bases-loaded walk by Chase Dawson (Andrean / Chesterton, Ind.) in the top of the 12th helped the Crusaders top the Redbirds 4-3 at Duffy Bass Field. The Crusaders prevailed in a battle of the bullpens that saw both teams go scoreless from the sixth through 12th innings.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders wasted no time mounting their first threat of the game, as James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) reached on a dropped third strike and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt in the top of the first. However, Stea was cut down attempting to steal third on a close play. Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) followed with a double to the gap in left that would have scored Stea. Palace moved to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded there.
- The Crusaders scored their first run of the game on an unusual play in the top of the third. Valpo had runners at first and third with two outs. Dawson danced off first, drawing a snap throw to first from the Illinois State catcher. Stea bolted for the dish when the catcher release the ball, and scored ahead of the return throw. Dawson also moved up to second as part of a double steal.
- Riley Dent (Long Beach,Calif. / Wilson) grounded a single through the hole between third and short with one out in the fourth, allowing Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth), who had tripled to start the inning, to come in and score and make it 2-0 Valpo.
- Valpo starting pitcher Grant Inman (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) left after three innings. He did not allow a hit and issued one walk while facing the minimum in a strong outing.
- Both starters received no decisions, as Illinois State’s Colton Johnson permitted two runs (earned) on five hits while striking out five and walking none over four frames.
- Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) smoked a two-out double down the left field line in the fifth, scoring Stea from third. That boosted Valpo’s lead to 3-0 over Illinois State.
- The Redbirds achieved their first hit of the game in the fifth, and Bryce Grimm followed by spanking a run-scoring double to put Illinois State on the board and chase Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) from the game.
- Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) allowed a two-run, two-bagger to Collin Braithwaite, the first man he faced. The ball nearly left the yard, and instead banged off the wall in deep left. Both runs were charged to Quigley.
- Dirienzo had worked a scoreless fourth, but was charged with three runs (all earned) on two hits while going one inning plus.
- After the fifth inning, neither team scored again in the remainder of the regulation nine. Quigley pitched a scoreless sixth, followed by two shutout frames by Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskaskia College]) and a scoreless ninth from Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski).
- Following Hanson’s double in the fifth, 12 straight Crusaders were retired before Kapers worked a two-out walk in the ninth.
- After the fifth inning, Valpo didn’t pick up another hit until the 12th, when Dent led off by bouncing a single into right. Kapers laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Dent into scoring position, then Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) hit a bloop single to center and Dent scampered to third. Stea was hit by a pitch to load the bags with one away.
- After taking several close pitches, narrowly staying alive on a foul ball that popped out of the catcher’s mitt and ripping one foul, Dawson accepted a bases-loaded walk on a payoff pitch from Illinois State’s Jeff Lindgren to force in a run and give Valpo the lead.
- Freshman Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) came on to work a scoreless bottom of the 12th, securing the save.
Inside the Game
- Dawson returned to the lineup after missing all three games this weekend. However, shortstop Chad Jacob was sidelined due to illness. Shaikin slid from third to short, and Scott Kapers played third base for the first time in his collegiate career.
- Freshman Blake Lutgen (Strafford, Mo. / Strafford) batted ninth as the Valpo designated hitter, marking the first start of his collegiate career.
- Stea’s steal of home was his team-leading 15th stolen base of the season.
- Stea enjoyed another multi-hit performance, his second straight. He has eight multiple hit outputs this year.
- Shaikin’s triple was his first of the season and the second of his collegiate career.
- Dent’s RBI in the fourth was the first of his collegiate career.
- Hanson’s RBI was his 12th of the year, moving him back into sole possession of second place on the club behind Palace, who has 19.
- This was Valpo’s second extra-inning game this season. Their first was a 6-3 win over Jacksonville on March 3.
- Stea’s 12th inning hit by pitch was his team-leading 11th of the season.
- Tieman notched his league-leading sixth save of the year.
Wednesday’s scheduled game between the Crusaders and Western Michigan Broncos has been canceled due to field conditions and expected inclement weather. The Crusaders will open the home slate on Friday, April 7 at 3 p.m. against Northern Kentucky. The game can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.
Crusaders, Phoenix Split League Twinbill Tuesday
Once the rain finally cleared up Tuesday afternoon, the Valparaiso University softball team was able to get in a Horizon League doubleheader with Green Bay at the Valpo Softball Complex – a series which was originally scheduled to be played in Green Bay. The Phoenix walked off with a 4-3 win in the opener, but the Crusaders rebounded with an offensive outburst in the nightcap for a 13-2 victory and a doubleheader split.
How It Happened – Game One
- Valpo looked to score immediately to open the game, as the Crusaders were batting as the visiting team since the series was originally slated to be played in Green Bay. Sophomore Carly Trepanier (Manteno, Ill./Manteno) led off the game with a walk and moved over to third with one out, but was doubled up on a hard line drive to keep Valpo off the board.
- The Phoenix struck first just two batters in, Abby Brinkmeier connected on a two-run homer to give the Phoenix an early 2-0 lead.
- The Crusaders erased half of the deficit right away in the top of the second, as sophomore Jaymee Lawton (Goodyear, Ariz./Desert Edge [Utah Valley] launched a full-count pitch down the left-field line for a solo homer, her fifth of the season.
- Neither team would even get a runner to third base again until the sixth inning, when senior Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) evened the game with one swing of the bat. Calombaris drove a 2-2 offering over the fence in left – her third homer of the year – to tie the game at 2-2.
- Green Bay re-claimed the lead with a two-out run-scoring double in the bottom of the sixth.
- The Crusaders took advantage of wildness from Green Bay reliever Sinead Korvela in the top of the seventh, as back-to-back Valpo batters walked to lead off the frame. Following a sacrifice bunt, junior Stephanie Moreno (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) dropped a pinch-hit RBI single into right-center to make it a 3-3 game. With runners on the corners and one away, Valpo had an opportunity to take the lead, but a fly ball double play ended the threat.
- But the Phoenix earned the walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh, as with a runner on second and two out, Brinkmeier dropped down a perfect bunt and reached safely on a single. Meanwhile, baserunner Bailey Schultz never stopped running, going for home, and the throw home was high and wide as Schultz scored the game-winning tally.
How It Happened – Game Two
- Valpo wasted little time taking the lead against Green Bay starter Katie Rossmann, who had stymied the lineup in the opener. Calombaris doubled with one out and senior Sam Stewart (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) drew a four-pitch walk behind her.
- Junior Jenna Stauffenberg (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) drove a run-scoring double to the left-center gap to plate Calombaris to open the scoring. Then, the Green Bay shortstop’s throw to second in an attempt to catch Stauffenberg was wide and rolled down the right-field line, allowing Stewart to score easily and Stauffenberg to come all the way around with the proverbial Little League home run, giving Valpo a 3-0 lead.
- The Crusaders added another run in the second, as freshman Addison Pixley (Osceola, Ind./Penn) singled to open the frame and pinch-runner Hannah Dybalski (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) eventually scored as Trepanier turned on a pitch and doubled down the right-field line. The lead was extended to 5-0 in the fourth when junior Lanie Callaghan (Elburn, Ill./Kaneland) drew a bases-loaded walk.
- Valpo then exploded for an eight-run fifth inning to secure the victory. Pixley, Trepanier and Calombaris all singled to load the bases with one out, and Stewart delivered a moonshot of a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch – her team-best ninth round-tripper of the year – to push the lead to 9-0.
- Stauffenberg followed with a line drive off the Green Bay pitcher, and Lawton worked a walk to put two on for Callaghan. The junior came through, driving a 1-0 pitch to straightaway center field, where the ball bounded off the top of the wall and gone for a three-run shot.
- The Crusaders added one more run later in the inning, as junior Jasmine Ramirez (Litchfield Park, Ariz./Millennium) reached with a double and eventually scored on a Green Bay error.
- After surrendering just a single hit through the first four innings, junior Kenzie Grossmann (Perry, Mo./Mark Twain [Morehead State]) was touched for three hits and two unearned runs in the fifth. But the junior induced a soft line-out to short to close out the run-rule win.
Inside the Games
- First pitch of the opener came at 2:06 p.m., 66 minutes after the originally scheduled start time of 1 p.m.
- The Crusaders’ 13 runs in the nightcap matched a season high in the runs column, while their 17 hits was the best single-game total of the season and tied for fifth-most in a single game dating back to 1999.
- Grossmann earned the win to improve to 11-5 on the year, surrendering just the two unearned runs in the complete-game effort. The junior has picked up the victory in each of her last four starting assignments.
- Leading the hit attack in the nightcap were Calombaris and Stauffenberg, both of whom ended the win 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Calombaris also went 1-for-2 with her solo homer in the opener to end the day 4-for-6 with three runs scored.
- Two Crusaders reached in each of their plate appearances in the nightcap. Stewart went 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored and four RBIs, and also reached twice in the opener as she finished that game 1-for-2 with a walk. The senior extended her program-record on-base streak to 28 straight games.
- Stewart’s home run in the fifth inning of the nightcap was her ninth of the season, tied for sixth-most in a single season in program history. The senior now owns 23 career home runs – fifth-most all time at Valpo – and has driven in 99 runs, just one shy of becoming the sixth player in program history to reach the century mark in RBIs.
- Lawton also reached in all four of her plate appearances in the Crusaders’ win, going 1-for-1 with three walks. The sophomore failed to reach base just once over the course of the doubleheader, finishing the day 2-for-3 with four walks and a pair of runs scored.
- Callaghan, Pixley and Trepanier all joined Stewart, Calombaris and Stauffenberg with multi-hit games in the Valpo rout in the nightcap, as each added a pair of hits. Callaghan also drew a walk to reach in three of four plate appearances and matched a career high with four RBIs.
- Junior Ashlyn Montgomery (Lebanon, Ind./Lebanon) started the opener, but threw just two-plus innings before being relieved by freshman Lindsay Zdroik (Elgin, Ill./St. Edward). Zdroik ended up throwing 4.2 solid innings out of the bullpen, but eventually was charged with the loss to drop to 1-1 on the year.
- The Crusaders were limited to just four hits as a team in the opener before exploding with their season-high output in the nightcap.
Thoughts From Head Coach Kate Stake
“Give credit to Green Bay – they came out of the gate strong today, hit the ball well and put us on our heels a bit right away.”
“Looking back, I think that there were some coaching decisions that we made in the first game that were not necessarily the best choices. Some of the decisions put us in tough spots, and we might have done things differently given the chance to do so again.”
“There were some adjustments our hitters needed to make to adjust to Rossmann in their timing and their mechanics that we weren’t able to figure out during the first game. Our hitters really did a good job putting their struggles from the first game behind them, making the adjustments and coming out strong right away in game two.”
“I felt like we really built off each other’s success at the plate in the second game, and maintained momentum offensively throughout the game. Kenzie really threw a very good game for us, and I thought Lanie did well defensively in center field, playing a position where she’s never even practiced.”
“We talked about the need to do a better job shutting the door after the second game. Whether we’re up 13 runs or one run, we need to play a better defensive final inning than we did in that game.”
The Crusaders (18-10, 5-3 Horizon) are scheduled to close out the series with the Phoenix on Wednesday at noon from the Valpo Softball Complex. With inclement weather in the forecast, fans are encouraged to follow Valpo Athletics and Valpo Softball social media accounts for any updates regarding the rubber game.