Fierce weekend yields split doubleheaders

Chicago softball exited the 2-2 weekend with an overall record of 17-3.

By Jenna Harris

Chicago proved itself a legitimate contender as it competed and snatched victories against two talented teams this past weekend.

“Facing North Central and Whitewater this weekend, the team knew…we’d be facing two strong opponents,” said first-year pitcher Alexa Hanelin. “We put up a good fight.”

The Maroons (17–3) knew that these two doubleheaders against the No. 18 North Central Cardinals (22–4) and the UW–Whitewater Warhawks (20–5) were going to be tough, but they fought back from behind in each of their games to split both doubleheaders, exiting the weekend with two wins and two losses.

Chicago opened Saturday with its first game against North Central. The Cardinals’ higher ranking and the noise coming from their dugout did not deter the Maroons.

The first five innings of game one featured a pitching duel between Cardinal fourth-year Vlasta Mangia and Maroon second-year Jordan Poole. At the end of the fifth, Chicago got its first run from first-year second baseman Anna Woolery. The game continued until the teams went into extra innings, tied 5–5. With two outs in the eighth inning, Poole jacked a home run over the left-field wall, giving the Maroons the 6–5 win.

Game two against North Central saw a more tragic ending for the Maroons, as the Cardinals won 7–3. Chicago came out strong with an RBI double by fourth-year third baseman Maddie McManus to put the home team ahead 2–0. The South Siders made it 3–0 in the third inning thanks to an unearned run that followed two errors in the second inning. The Cardinals, however, scored two runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Two home runs and two RBI doubles did the bulk of the damage, giving Chicago its second loss of the season. The Maroons totaled eight hits and two errors.

Sunday saw another doubleheader at home, this time against Whitewater. The Warhawks started strong in game one, scoring four runs on seven hits in the opening two innings. In the third inning with the bases loaded, second-year first baseman Kathleen Kohm looped a two-run single to left field, bringing the score to 4–2. McManus doubled and then scored on an RBI single from Poole in the fifth. Kohm followed up by blasting a long two-run homer that traveled well past the left-field fence to tie up the score. Fourth-year outfielder Kaitlyn Carpenter hit a solo home run to center field to give the Maroons a 6–5 victory. It was the team’s second walk-off homer in two days.

Later in the afternoon, Chicago started strong in game two when third-year outfielder Raechel Cloud smacked a home run to straightaway center field to lead off the bottom of the first inning. The Warhawks then went ahead 3–1 in the third inning thanks to a three-run homer. Whitewater continued to score six runs on two homers and two RBI singles. The Maroons fought back with three runs, consisting of a homer from first-year infielder Maggie O’Hara and RBIs from Cloud and Carpenter. In the end, the Maroons came up short and lost 9–6 while totaling 13 hits with three errors on defense.

Although the previously 15–1 Maroons weren’t used to splitting multiple doubleheaders, this is a confident team.

“As a first-year, I feel lucky to be on such a strong team, mentally and athletically,” Hanelin said. “Our team goes into every game hungry to win, and we should bring home the Ws Tuesday and Thursday.”

The Maroons face Wheaton away Tuesday at 3 and 5 p.m., and they play Hope College at home on Thursday at 3 and 5 p.m.