Long Ball Not Enough to Propel Calvin to Victory in Doubleheader With Concordia
Monday, March 26, 2012
By Mark DeHaan
On a sun-filled Monday afternoon, Calvin hosted the Concordia University Cardinals for its season home opener. The Knights entered the doubleheader at 5-7 on the year, while the Cardinals came in at 8-13.
The first two innings were rather uneventful, but in the top of the third, Concordia struck first as a double in the left field gap from senior Erin Dirobbio brought home senior Breanna King from first base, who had drawn a walk to lead off the inning.
Calvin responded in the bottom of the third with a leadoff triple from sophomore Danae Miedema. A pair of walks later, the Knights had the bases loaded with just one out. Senior Marie Prins then hit a grounder to the third basemen, who sent it to home to force an out, but an error by the catcher allowed two runs to score, giving Calvin the 2-1 lead.
Concordia opened up the top of the fourth with a double in the left field gap. A Calvin error at the next ball in play allowed a Cardinal run to score, tying the game at 2-2. Concordia then took a one run lead on a fielder’s choice to reclaim the one run advantage at 3-2.
In the fifth inning, the Cardinals extended their lead to two on an unearned run as a double into left field brought home the runner from first base to make the score 4-2 Concordia.
In the bottom of the inning, the Knights responded with a two-run home run the first baseman Prins to tie the score at 4-4.
Once again responding to the Knights runs, the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs and brought in a run to take the 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth.
After an inning of three-up, three-down for the Calvin offense, Concordia added a run in the top of the seventh to bring their advantage to 6-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Calvin advanced runners to second and third with two outs before a strikeout ended their hopes for a comeback as Concordia took the first game, 6-4.
In the second game, Calvin started off with a strong first inning, especially from sophomore Lina Avila, starting at pitcher. In the top of the first, Avila would record all three outs, the first on a strikeout and the final two on line-outs. In the bottom of the first, with a runner on second, Avila would slap the first pitch she saw over the left field fence to give Calvin the early 2-0 lead. The home run was the sixth of the season for Avila.
Concordia grabbed a run back in the top of the third on a fielder’s choice as a hit by senior Karen Greficz brought in run for the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the fourth, Avila gave herself two more insurance runs as she belted her seventh home run of the season and second of the game to give the Knights the 4-1 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, Concordia got all those runs back and one more as a four-run inning by the Cardinals gave them a 5-4 lead.
Holding the Knights at bay, Concordia added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to push their lead to 6-4 before Calvin’s final at bat.
With two outs in their final at bat, Calvin was able to load the bases when Avila came up to bat. Avila, who had hit two home runs in the game, was walked, cutting the Concordia lead to 6-5. The next Calvin batter struck-out swinging, completing the Cardinal sweep of the doubleheader.
Avila led the Knights on the afternoon, going 4-for-7 with two home runs and five RBI. Prins also hit well for Calvin, hitting 3-for-6 with a home run and two RBI. Trista Browlee moves to 3-5 on the season from the circle, while Avila is now 2-4.
“We’re just going to keep working hard and gear up for league play. I know this team is capable of doing it, looking forward to keep working at it” said Head Coach Sharon DeKleine. “Lina was awesome. Hitting, fielding, leading by example – she just did a great job.”
The pair of losses drops Calvin to 5-9 on the season. The Knights now look forward to Saturday when they will travel to Wheaton College to face both Wheaton and University of Chicago in a triangular Saturday afternoon.