by Eva Dean Folkert
The Hope College softball team got back on the victory track with two wins in Clermont, Florida, on Monday. After dropping two games last Saturday on the second day of their spring break trip, the Flying Dutch topped Concordia-Wisconsin, 4-2, and Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 5-1, to move their record to 4-2.
Concordia fell to 3-4 while Stevens Point is 3-7.
Solid starting pitching and timely hitting were the ingredients that carried the day for the Flying Dutch.
Freshman pitcher Chloe Haskins of Brighton (Brighton HS), pictured right, threw a complete game against Concordia-Wisconsin, allowing only four hits. The Falcons' two runs were unearned. The win gives Haskins a 2-1 record.
"It was really great to see Chloe go a complete game against a college offense, especially the third time through a lineup when that can sometimes be a breaking point," said head coach Mary VandeHoef. "But she really finished strong and had the endurance to get it done. It was great to see her step into a new challenge today."
The fifth inning saw all four of Hope's runs scored against the Falcons. Senior Shay Pinhey doubled up the middle to send junior Jordyn Diaz and junior Amanda Diaz home. Sophomore Savannah Dixon's single scored senior Noelle Jackson, who had walked, while a sacrifice fly by freshman Kaelin Callow scored Dixon.
"Amanda comes in to give us a base-hit bunt that she beats out and then Noelle draws a really big walk," VandeHoefcontinued. "Sometimes it is those little things that get you going and help you shut the door and really not look back."
Sophomore starter Megan Soderbloom of Dowagiac (Dowagiac HS), pictured left, and freshman reliever Avery Slancik of Scotts (Vicksburg HS) combined on the mound to defeat Wisc.-Stevens Point in Hope's second contest. Soderbloom was credited with her first win of 2019, and it came after Slancik was able to get the Flying Dutch out of a jam.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with Hope leading 5-1, Slancik entered the game with runners on first and second. She walked the first batter she faced to fill the bases but then promptly got two Pointer batters to hit into fielder's choice plays at home plate for two consecutive outs. The next Pointer grounded out to shortstop Dixon. Hope's lead and win were preserved.
"Megan threw on both Friday and Saturday and the innings she gave Saturday were a really nice improvement," explained VandeHoef. "Today, she settled in well and got herself out of a couple jams as well and just did a really nice job. And Avery. . . Anytime you find the bases loaded with nobody (out) and can get out of it without giving up a run, you know your pitcher has done something really nice. And a couple infield plays (to home plate) when we really needed it from (shortstop) Savannah and (third baseman) Shelby (Steele) were the plays they needed to make to keep us in it."
Offensively against the Pointers, the Flying Dutch used two innings this time — the third and the fourth — to score all of their runs. Callow drove home three runs over those two innings on 2-of-4 batting.
"The second game our players just found a way to chip away at it even though we got down (in the first inning)," VandeHoef concluded. "This team fights, and until the game is over, they're going to keep fighting. That's been fun to see in six games."
Hope plays again in Clermont, Florida tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19, at 9:30 a.m. versus Allegheny College (Penn.) and at 11:45 a.m. versus Anderson College (Ind.).