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Waldorf rallies past Malone

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By: Matt Oliver

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Jessica Abrahamson delivered a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to lift the Waldorf College softball team to a 7-5 victory over Malone University during the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic on Tuesday.

It was a back-and-forth contest, but the Warriors (2-8) persevered to the finish.

“I’m very impressed with how well the girls kept their composure throughout the entire game,” Waldorf coach Lexy Determan said. “It is difficult to come from behind to win a game, especially when you go from leading, get behind and then come back in the seventh inning to rally to win.”

The Warriors trailed by one run and were down to their final out when Abrahamson cranked the three-run shot. Abrahamson led Waldorf at the plate as the senior from West Bend went 2-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.

“I give Jessica credit for having great at-bats all day,” Determan said. “Her home run was a valuable part of our win. It is always important to keep in mind that all the base runners and defensive plays added up to the win.”

Junior Trista Bures provided a pair of doubles and two RBIs to help power a nine-hit attack for the Warriors. Sophomore Hattie Hupke added two hits while senior Maggie Eden, juniors Hailey Kofron and Ashton May collected singles. Senior Andrea Hartmann contributed an RBI sacrifice fly.

May (1-0) locked up the win. She entered in the bottom of the fifth and issued one walk as she worked two-thirds of an inning. Hartmann recorded her first save of the season, retiring the side in order during the seventh.

Waldorf sophomore Briley Sullivan started inside the pitcher’s circle. Sullivan struck out two batters, walked two and yielded five runs on seven hits in five and one-third innings. The three pitchers combined for solid performances and had a supporting cast behind them.

“Our defensive execution was great,” Determan said. “Briley, Ashton and Andrea all did exactly what we needed them to do.”

Aside from three pitching changes, the Warriors also had several defensive switches during the day. Every time NCAA Division II’s Pioneers (4-2) threatened, Waldorf responded.

“The girls all took the changes in stride, which definitely led to the win,” Determan said. “We got out of a couple sticky situations on defense that allowed our offense more opportunities to score.”

Kari Hall (3-1) took the loss. Hall notched five strikeouts, gave up three walks and surrendered three runs on three hits in five innings. Faith Freeman allowed four runs on six hits while pitching the final two innings.

Alexa Holztrager led Malone, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI triple. Mikayla Fowler also finished with two hits and Allison Mercado went 1-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Kerri Manley doubled and Emily Isla singled to give Malone seven hits.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth when Abrahamson doubled to send home Bures.

Fowler crossed home plate following a fourth-inning triple from Holztrager, who scored following a groundout by Mercado to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead.

The Warriors went in front 4-2, producing three runs on four hits in the fifth. Bures ripped a two-run double and Hupke came home when Hartmann connected on a sac fly.

The Pioneers claimed a 5-4 advantage in the fifth. Mercado smacked a two-run double and Taylor Lauren gave Malone its final run, scoring on a wild pitch.

Hupke sparked Waldorf’s seventh-inning rally with a leadoff single and Hartmann reached base on a one-out walk. Abrahamson came through in the clutch as she blasted a two-out, three-run bomb to cap the comeback win.

Waldorf continues its spring break trip on Wednesday. The Warriors take on NCAA Division III’s Hilbert College (2-3) at 9:30 a.m. (EST) and Reinhardt University (14-7) at 11:30 a.m. Reinhardt is receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll.

Tuesday’s win motivates Waldorf moving ahead. It was a game where the Warriors showed their resolve and pressed on whenever adversity struck.

“I hope this gives the girls some confidence,” Determan said. “It absolutely proved that one person and one play does not ever win or lose a game single handedly. We executed well overall and a couple of times when our execution of a bunt or anything slipped up, the next person stepped up and made up for the play and picked up the other girl.”