MOUNT PLEASANT – Haleigh Hempen (Jr.-Hamilton, Ill.) singled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Iowa Wesleyan College a 2-1 win and a sweep of a doubleheader against Viterbo (Wis.) University Sunday afternoon at the Mapleleaf Athletic Complex.
The Tigers also added a 5-3 win over the V-Hawks in Sunday’s opener, as forecasted strong thunderstorms never arrived and allowed the two teams to complete their four-game weekend series. IWC finished the weekend winning the last three games between the two teams and clinching a finish ahead of Viterbo in the Midwest Collegiate Conference standings.
Ashlee Winner (Sr.-Rushville, Ill.) picked up the win in both games for the Tigers. Winner pitched a complete game in the opener, allowing seven hits and walking six while striking out five. Her teammates picked her up with 10 hits in the game, scoring three times in the first inning and then coming back after the V-Hawks tied it.
Jerri Fuentez (Sr.-Houston, Texas) tripled to score Stephanie Benge (Sr.-Mount Pleasant, Iowa), beginning a good start for the Tigers that would result in an early 3-0 lead. The V-Hawks came back with a run in the third and two more in the fourth, tying the game on a two-run double by Jenna Strait in the top of the fourth.
Winner helped herself in the bottom of the fourth, though, hitting a booming double to left-center to score Hannah Milligan (Fr.-West Burlington, Iowa) and put Wesleyan back ahead 4-3. The Tigers added an insurance run as Fuentez continued her huge weekend with an RBI single in the sixth for the final run of the game.
The second game early on was a pitcher’s duel between Viterbo’s Kallie Mechling and IWC’s Brooke Iversen (So.-Earlville, Ill.), both of who held the opposition scoreless for the first four innings. Wesleyan finally scored the first run of the game when Hilarie Droz (Sr.-Ottumwa, Iowa) hit an infield single to score Benge in the bottom of the fifth.
Viterbo came back with a run in the sixth when Betsy Ward came around after a leadoff double against Winner, who came on in the fifth in relief of Iversen. The game went to the seventh still tied when Benge led off with a single and Droz doubled down the left field line. Benge tried to come around to score, but was gunned down by a perfect relay throw from Ward to the plate to keep the game tied. Droz moved to third on the throw, though, and two batters later Hempen came up with two outs and singled past the shortstop for the winning run.
Iowa Wesleyan’s two wins on Sunday came after the Tigers and V-Hawks split a pair of games Saturday afternoon, again beating the weather on the night seven seniors were honored. Viterbo opened Saturday with a 3-1 win before IWC came back for an 11-3 win in six innings in the nightcap. The visitors won the first game as Marissa Rathbun outlasted Winner in a game that saw each team pick up just three hits. Wesleyan’s bats came alive in the second game with 12 hits in a five-inning victory.
Fuentez finished the weekend with eight hits and four RBIs. Droz added six hits and and Hempen had five hits and five runs batted in. Droz and Hempen both had three RBIs each in the Tigers’ second game Saturday night. The series was the final homestand for seniors Benge, Droz, Fuentez, Katie Iversen (Earlville, Ill.), Missie Simmons (Russell, Iowa) and Winner as well as junior Brittany Johnson (Burlington, Iowa), who has one more year of eligibility but will graduate this year.
The Tigers finish the regular season 20-28 overall, 12-16 in the MCC, while Viterbo fell to 12-38 overall, 10-20 in the conference. With two wins and Clarke College’s two losses to William Penn University on Sunday, IWC also moved into sixth in the MCC standings and will remain there if Clarke loses at least one game in a doubleheader against Mount Mercy College on Monday.
The Tigers begin postseason play on Wednesday at the MCC Tournament in Coralville at the Creekside Softball Complex. IWC’s opponent and time of first game will be determined after the conclusion of conference play Monday.
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.
Photo: 2009 IWC softball seniors, from left, Missie Simmons, Steph Benge, Brittany Johnson, Jerri Fuentez, Ashlee Winner, Katie Iversen and Hilarie Droz.
Box score Sat. Game 1 Viterbo 3 IWC 1
Box score Sat. Game 2 IWC 11 Viterbo 3 (5 inn.)
Box score Sun. Game 1 IWC 5 Viterbo 3
Box score Sun. Game 2 IWC 2 Viterbo 1