IWU softball piles on the wins this season

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Jeff Neukom

In sports, there are dozens of things that can go wrong. In softball, it can be an errant throw to first or a poorly timed strikeout that turns the game around. Other days, the weather decides not to cooperate. This was the case for the Titan softball team, who had to wait another day before taking on conference foe North Central.

The Titans split a pair of games in their first of a stretch of crucial CCIW games. The team dropped the first 3-2, but then came roaring back to silence the bats of North Central, winning the revenge match 7-2.

Even after waiting a day for the weather to improve, sophomore Jenna Noland was still stuck pitching in cold and windy conditions. She allowed three runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings pitched.

The second game produced a sigh of relief, and the seven runs offered a small bit of consolation. The Illinois Wesleyan University pitching staff turned in another notable performance, allowing only one run and notching eight strikeouts.

Efforts by both IWU pitchers have certainly not gone unnoticed, affirmed by first-year Katie, who said, “Our pitchers have been working super hard in practice to perfect their technique, and they know their team will rally behind them. They’re doing awesome so far!”

Senior Victoria Whitaker doubled to score sophomore Sara Rogers early in the first, and senior shortstop Amanda Fazzari followed this up with a run off a Cardinal error. Runs came down in a flood in the third inning, putting the Titans ahead 6-0 and the game, effectively, out of reach.

On Saturday, April 5, the Titans squared off against conference foe Wheaton, with both their arms and bats recharged. They bounced back from a cold and dreary April 4 game, overcoming an early Wheaton lead in the first game to secure a 3-2 victory.

Jenna Noland struck out nine, giving up two runs. The Titans rallied off runs from Sara Rogers and sophomore Hannah Bowen to overcome the 2-1 deficit. The Titans clobbered Wheaton in the second game, starting the run with a home run and piling up five more runs.

To finish off the weekend, the Titans faced off against the Elmhurst team. With a 1-1 conference record thus far, it’s not clear what can be expected from them heading into the game. Continuing the trend of the weekend, the Titans dropped the first 4-3 but rallied to win 9-1 in the second.

Despite the tough losses, Caulfield recognizes the importance of conference victories, saying, “Since they were conference we knew we needed to play as a team more than ever. We all did what we could do, even though if it wasn’t pretty at times.”

With a smile, she continued, “My favorite part about this team is the welcoming atmosphere. Our seniors are very welcoming and encouraging. We’re building for the future.”

If the Titans keep playing as well as they’ve shown thus far, they’re building toward an undeniably exciting finish for the season.