by Eva Dean Folkert
The Hope College softball team concluded its spring break trip in the same manner they started it — with two victories in Clermont, Florida.
When they began their season last Friday, March 15, the Flying Dutch opened with a pair of wins. A week later, they ended their southern swing by defeating Wisconsin-Whitewater, 3-2, and Bethany (W.V.), 14-10.
In-between, Hope won some more — three times more than they lost, in fact — and finished its opening, non-league schedule by going 9-3.
Beyond their record, the Flying Dutch's stats were impressive through 12 games in Florida.
- At the plate, they batted .322, connecting for 97 hits and scoring 82 runs. Their slugging percentage was .495.
- On the mound, Hope pitchers had a 3.13 ERA and a .265 batting average against.
- On the base paths, the Flying Dutch successfully stole 25 bases while being caught just five times. They had a .425 on-base percentage.
- In the field, they committed just 12 errors while having a .965 fielding percentage.
"This last week has shown us a lot about this team, and it felt like we kept getting better every day in one aspect or another. It's great to leave with some momentum as we head north," said head coach Mary VandeHoef. "We have a lot of things to sharpen up on when we get home. Things in all 3 phases of the game. So, you hope to build by taking some time to make sure we have learned everything we needed to from the trip, and talk about those things as a team, and then focusing on the aspects we still need to improve on to keep elevating as a group."
On Friday, in game one against Wisconsin-Whitewater (0-1), Hope scattered just six hits. It was senior Shay Pinhey's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the game its Flying Dutch exclamation point. With the score tied, 2-2, the senior from Ann Arbor (Pioneer HS) singled up the middle to score freshman Janelle Baar of Byron Center (Byron Center HS) who herself had singled to leftfield to start the inning.
Pitcher Baar got the win in relief, allowing no hits and no runs in two-thirds of an inning of work in the top of the seventh. Her record is now 2-1. Freshman Chloe Haskins of Brighton (Brighton HS) started the game, going three full innings of work, holding the Warhawks to one run on three hits. Sophomore Maddie Nise of Caledonia (Caledonia HS) worked the next three and a third innings, yielding one run on four hits while striking out three.
In game two, Hope and Bethany (1-7) engaged in a hit barrage, slugging 22 hits total between the two teams.
The Flying Dutch scored half of their runs with a seven-run bottom of the second on only two hits, one of which was a three-run triple by freshman first baseman Kaelin Callow of Plainfield, Illinois (Plainfield HS) driven to right centerfield. In that inning, Hope also collected four walks and took advantage of two Bison errors.
Overall, 10 different Flying Dutch players scored at least one run against Bethany.
Four Hope pitchers faced Bethany; sophmore Megan Soderbloom of Dowagiac (Dowagiac HS) was the winning hurler, giving up just one run and three hits in three innings of work.
The Flying Dutch open the northern portion of their season with a home doubleheader against Wheaton College (Illinois) at Wolters Stadium. The first game starts at 3 p.m.