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Waldorf fights past Clarke in sweep

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Aaron Schneider

FOREST CITY – The Waldorf University softball team fought to a sweep during Tuesday’s doubleheader against Clarke University.

Waldorf (9-21) edged the Crusaders (17-17) in a 3-2 win in the opener and powered to a 10-5 victory during the nightcap.

“Those were two great wins over a team who has been playing well,” Waldorf coach Lexy Determan said.

Senior Maggie Eden turned in a 2-for-2 performance for the Warriors in Game 1. Sophomore Hattie Hupke went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Senior Kaitlin Murphy notched a double while senior Andrea Hartmann and junior Brittani Sanchez added singles.

Clarke’s Kayla O’Brien and Allyson Renforth delivered solo home runs, each going 1-for-3 at the plate. Madison Metzger also went 1-for-3.

Hartmann (2-8) recorded the win, tossing a three-hitter. She struck out a batter, walked three and allowed two runs in seven innings.

Renforth (3-7) was tagged with the loss. She fanned four batters, issued three walks and gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings.

O’Brien and Renforth put the Crusaders on the board in the top of the first inning by cranking back-to-back solo jacks. The early deficit didn’t faze the Warriors.

“It would have been very easy for our girls to shut down after the first inning when they scored two runs right away,” Determan said. “However, we are definitely known for putting up a fight.”

Senior Maggie Hawley provided an RBI sacrifice fly in the second to pull the Warriors within one run.

Waldorf rallied in the sixth with senior Jessica Abrahamson drawing a leadoff walk. Eden followed up with a single. Sanchez reached first on a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Abrahamson scored the tying run when junior Trista Bures grounded into a fielder’s choice. Following a fielder’s choice, the Warriors were in a two-out situation when Hupke ripped a go-ahead single to score Sanchez.

Waldorf forced Clarke to go three-up, three-down in the seventh to seal the victory.

Abrahamson crushed a three-run blast, going 2-for-3 during the nightcap. Murphy went 1-for-3 and belted a three-run homer. Sophomore Taylor Bell and Hupke tallied two hits apiece. The Warriors also received singles from Bures, Hartmann, Hawley and Sanchez.

With a steady approach at the plate, Waldorf collected 18 hits on the day.

“Our hitting was much more focused,” Determan said. “We did not swing at many bad pitches, which made a huge difference. We did a much better job attacking strikes.”

Sarah Crews paced the Crusaders, going 3-for-4 with a solo homer and a double. Renforth went yard for the second time of the day with a solo homer. Jordan Albrecht finished 2-for-3 with a two-run double.

Hawley (2-5) earned the win. She punched out two batters, walked one and yielded five runs on 10 hits in seven innings.

Strong performances inside the pitcher’s circle helped guide the Warriors in the sweep.

“Both Andrea [Hartmann] and Maggie [Hawley] stayed the course and pitched very well,” Determan said. “Kaitlin [Murphy] did a great job behind the plate. She does a great job of remembering hitters and knowing what it takes to get them out.”

Crews (11-7) was handed the loss. She struck out four batters, issued one walk and relinquished 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits.

Crews knocked out a solo shot for Clarke on the very first at-bat of the game.

Hawley evened the score in the second inning with an RBI single.

Renforth smashed a third-inning solo homer to put the Crusaders back on top, 2-1.

The Warriors took a 4-2 lead in the third when Abrahamson connected for a three-run shot.

Waldorf put together a six-run fourth inning. Hupke singled in a run and Hartmann belted a two-run single to give the Warriors a five-run lead. Waldorf went up 10-2 when Murphy cleared the fence with a three-run blast.

Amanda Widener drove in a run for the Crusaders with a fifth-inning single. Albrecht produced a two-run single to cut Clarke’s deficit to five runs. The Warriors turned in a strong defensive effort to close out the win.

“We did a great job of just playing the game our way and letting the details sort themselves out,” Determan said. “Our defense played solid, which says a lot about their focus on a windy day.”

Waldorf drew a large and supportive crowd with numerous faculty and staff members on hand for Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day.

“It was also great to see so many faculty and staff members at the game,” Determan said. “There was excitement between the games as we honored them, which was great to see. It really felt like a Warrior family.”

The Warriors hold a 3-9 record in North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) play and take on Dakota State University (7-13, 3-9) in a four-game conference home series this weekend. Waldorf faces the Trojans in doubleheaders, starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. The Warriors look to build on the sweep when they square off against Dakota State.

“I’m proud of our girls,” Determan said. “These wins give us great momentum to return to big conference games this weekend.”