MOUNT PLEASANT – Receiving two outstanding pitching performances in relief from senior Ashlee Winner (Rushville, Ill.), the Iowa Wesleyan College softball opened its own Betty Sammons Classic with a pair of exciting extra inning wins Friday at East Lake Park.
The Tigers took ten innings before finally outlasting Harris-Stowe State (Mo.) University 7-4 in their first game on Friday. IWC then went eight innings against Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) College before pulling out a 2-1 win to finish as one of just two teams undefeated on the opening day of the Sammons Classic.
Despite struggling at the plate, Wesleyan won both games to improve to 13-17 overall, eclipsing last year’s season total of 11 wins. IWC did it with a pair of clutch performances by Winner, who came on in both games and overpowered hitters.
Winner struck out a total of 19 batters while allowing just one run in 9 1/3 innings of relief over two games. She came on in the opener and pitched six innings in relief of Rebecca Wilson (Fr.-Algonquin, Ill.), striking out nine hitters.
The Tigers finally broke the game open with five runs in the top of the 10th inning, taking advantage of three HSSU errors. Kelley Bettag (Fr.-Dale, Ind.) also had a two-run single in the inning and Winner added a double to drive in a run before closing the door in the bottom of the inning for the win.
One extra-inning game was hardly enough excitement, though, as IWC and Hannibal-LaGrange engaged in a pitcher’s duel in the Tigers’ second game. Brooke Iversen (So.-Earlville, Ill.) pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed one run and five hits before Winner came on and was even more dominant. The senior did not allow a hit in 3 1/3 innings and recorded all ten outs via the strikeout.
HLG pitcher Amanda Smith was equally as strong, allowing just a run and three hits in seven innings before the Tigers finally got to her in the eighth. Stephanie Benge (Sr.-Mount Pleasant, Iowa) hit a bloop double on the chalk of the left field line and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Jerri Fuentez (Sr.-Houston, Texas) followed and hit a ball on the infield and Benge raced home ahead of the tag for the winning run.
Benge led the team at the plate with three hits on the day. Bettag, Hilarie Droz (Sr.-Ottumwa, Iowa), Haleigh Hempen (Jr.-Hamilton, Ill.) and Danielle Boyle (Jr.-Danville, Iowa) also all added two hits.
IWC joined Lindenwood (Mo.) University as the only two teams to go undefeated on the first day of the Sammons Classic. Lindenwood won all three of its games on Friday. The Tigers’ two extra-inning games both came on Diamond 2 of the complex and were part of a wild day on that particular diamond. Three of the four games went into extra innings, including the final game of the day when Judson (Ill.) University defeated Harris-Stowe 4-3 in 11 innings.
The tourney continues tomorrow with games starting at 9 a.m. Iowa Wesleyan will play a pair of games against Judson, the first one beginning at 12:15 p.m. on Diamond 2.
For more information regarding the IWC softball program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score IWC 7 HSSU 4 (10 inn.)
Box score IWC 2 HLG 1 (8 inn.)