Softball team gets over the hump

The Duhawks (16-14, 3-5 IIAC) headed to Storm Lake sitting at .500 on the season and looking to gain ground in the conference standings against the Buena Vista Beavers.

Coming out swinging, the Duhawks were able to score three runs in the first. Despite the early lead, the Beavers responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs off senior pitcher Holly Klein. The Duhawks struck again in the third when junior Makaila Haase drove in Klein with a shot into right field, extending the lead to 4-2.

The Duhawks held the advantage 4-3 going into the final frame.  However, the Beavers were able to rally and win game one on a walk-off, 5-4.

Despite the late meltdown in the first game, the Duhawks took the early lead in game two with the help of sophomore Danielle Stromert. With one on in the third inning, Stromert blasted a home run to give the Duhawks the lead, 2-0.

Junior Julie Kistner doubled the advantage with a two-run single in the fifth. Haase and the Duhawk defense kept the Beavers scoreless through the fifth, before they broke through in the sixth. Leading 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Klein came in and shutdown the rally with back-to-back strikeouts to preserve the victory.

“That was a really tough way to end the first game,” said Head Coach Ashley Winter. “I was worried that we would still be reeling, but we showed composure and played a great game to split the series.”

The Duhawks would have a short turnaround as they returned home for a Saturday afternoon double-header against the No.13 Central College Dutch.

The Dutch sprang out to a quick lead, scoring two in their half of the first inning. It didn’t take long for the Duhawks to respond, as they cut the lead in half when Stromert scored from third and senior Katie Serpico survived a pickle long enough for her to cross the plate.

Central extended their lead back to two, but the Duhawks continued to fight back and match the Dutch’s scoring effort. Klein was able to settle in on the mound and keep Central scoreless for the rest of the game as the offense provided fireworks.

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the sixth, first-year Miranda Chapman blasted a round-tripper to dead center to tie up the game. Klein continued her dominance, keeping the bats silent in the top of the seventh, setting up the Duhawks for a walk-off victory.

Serpico opened the frame with a lead-off single, before being replaced by Klein to pinch-run. A bunt moved Klein into scoring position with Haase stepping to the plate. She laced a single up the middle and allowed Klein to score,  giving the Duhawks the 4-3 come-from-behind win.

This was the first Duhawk victory against the Dutch since the 2012 season and Klein couldn’t have been more excited.

“It is a huge win for us because we are so young and it shows that we can play with some of the best teams in the country,” she said.

Game two started out promising for the Duhawks, as they played long ball in the first inning. Stromert and first-year Bria Lenten each hit home runs to give Loras the 4-0 lead.

The two sides were tied at six heading into the final inning of play, but the Dutch’s offense came alive to finish off the Duhawks, 11-6.

Coach Winter was positive even after the loss.

“I was happy with our effort and especially our young players stepping up and leading the way when they needed to,” Winter said.

Lenten added, “We need to play a consistent game throughout, especially when it comes to the final inning.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the Duhawks swept Edgewood to finally eclipse the .500 mark. In game one, senior pitcher Holly Klein led the Duhawks to a 5-1 win. Klein picked up her eighth win of the year, pitching a complete game and striking out four.

Game two of the afternoon was much closer. With the game tied at two in the top of the seventh, a clutch right field single from senior Katie Serpico allowed first-year Regan Wolverton to score the go ahead run. Klein took the mound in relief of Makaila Haase in the bottom of the seventh and struck out two batters to pick up the save.

The Duhawks’ next test will come Saturday in Indianola, where they’ll play a double-header against No. 22 Simpson.

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