Homers pave way for Hy-Vee sweep
The Hy-Vee Invitational in Grinnell, Iowa, on April 2-3 might as well have been called the Hy-Vee Home Run Derby. Washington University’s No. 15 softball team swept all four games as batters came alive. Wash. U. hit four home runs in one inning in a 15-0 rout of Graceland College on Saturday.
“[The batters] worked the count well, found perfect pitches and just bombed the ball,” senior, co-captain Megan Fieser said.
Sophomore Corissa Santos, junior Claire Voris and seniors Ashton Hitchcock and Ally Berenter chipped in a homer apiece in the fourth inning. The Bears interspersed a mix of hits in between these shots as they put the game out of reach early.
Saturday’s nightcap against Macalester College started off slowly. With two Bears out and no runs scored, Fieser stepped to the plate and singled. Hitchcock and Santos also delivered a single to score Santos. Then, Berenter sent in a two-run triple to give the Bears a 3-0 advantage.
Macalester returned with a two-run fourth inning before the Bears responded with another two runs. Mac would score one run off freshman reliever Kathy Peter, but sophomore Olivia Cook earned the win and Peter picked up the save. Wash. U.’s bats cooled off a little, with the Bears notching only seven hits, including Fieser’s 3-for-3 performance.
History making began early for Wash. U. in a 6-3 Friday afternoon win over the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Voris struck out the 500th batter of her collegiate career in the bottom of the second inning. She later snapped a 2-2 tie in the third inning with a two-run, bases-loaded single to center field.
The Bears’ errorless streak of seven games was also snapped as they committed four errors against the Scots.
Wash. U. followed up with a 10-4 victory over Grinnell College on Friday evening. The Lady Bears stared down a 3-0 deficit heading into the fourth inning before their bats woke up.
“We didn’t let down at any point,” Santos said. “We kept the energy up and kept pushing for the win.”
Berenter hit two out of the park in the same inning, becoming the sixth player in Division III history to do so.
“There [are] no real words to describe what it felt like,” Berenter said. Her first shot came with one out, and after other Bears strung several hits together, Berenter’s second homer with two outs in the inning capped off the ten run inning.
“Our coach stressed to us [that] how we played this weekend just speaks volumes of the depths our team has,” Berenter said.
Berenter and Fieser were named to the Hy-Vee All-Tournament Team. Fieser hit a tournament-best .714 (10 for 14) and had five stolen bases. “As a slapper, I’m less looking for home runs and [more] looking to get on base,” Fieser said. “I was really focused on seeing the holes in the infield and running it out.”
“Everyone’s walking away just really amazed at what Megan did this weekend,” Berenter said. “Hitting .714 for a weekend is absolutely unbelievable in the softball and baseball world.”
Wash. U. travels to Division II Maryville University on Thursday for a doubleheader that starts at 4 p.m.