Arends’ redemptive double pushes softball past DePauw

| Senior Sports Editor

When Taylor Arends stepped up to the plate with two-on and two out the top of the ninth tied 4-4 against DePauw University, she did so while mired in a mini-slump—or whatever counts as such for a freshman shortstop who currently ranks fifth or better on the Washington University softball team in just about every meaningful offensive category. In that final at-bat, however, Arends gave herself a dose of redemption, stroking a two-RBI double to left field, snapping a zero for seven skid and lifting the Bears to a 6-4 Saturday night victory over the Tigers.

“I knew that it was going to come down to that because in softball, it always happens—you’re having a bad day; you’re always going to end up in those clutch situations, so for me, I just wanted to right my wrong,” she said.

After Arends’ hit, senior Annie Pitkin retired the side with a pair of strikeouts and a pop-up to ice the victory.

With the win, the Bears improve to 26-8 and cap off a 3-1 weekend in Bloomington, Ill., where the Bears picked up 4-0 and 8-0 shutout victories against Hope College and the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire, respectively, on Friday before being edged out by University of Wisconsin—La Crosse 2-1 the next day.

Against DePauw, the Bears were hitless through the first five innings, while DePauw scored a run in the second, fourth and fifth to build a 3-0 lead. The Red and Green evened the score in the top of the sixth, however, taking advantage of two Tiger errors to score three unearned runs.

With one out, junior center fielder Janet Taylor initiated the rally with a single down the left field line, advancing to second on an errant throw by the left fielder. After Arends popped out to the catcher—one of her two unproductive outs with runners in scoring position before her game-breaking double—senior first baseman Brooke Hofer drove in Taylor with a two-out single to right field. After a walk by junior catcher Halle Steinberg, sophomore starting pitcher Maggie Clapp reached on an error by the shortstop, allowing Hofer to score. Steinberg then came around to score on an infield single by sophomore right fielder Ashley Madsen.

In the bottom half of the frame, senior Annie Pitkin came on to relieve Clapp who surrendered a season-high nine hits, two earned runs and one strikeout. DePauw and Wash. U. traded runs in the eighth inning, and in the top of the ninth, with Madsen and Taylor on base, Arends delivered her decisive double.

In four innings of relief, Pitkin notched seven strikeouts, allowed two hits, gave up one unearned run and earned the win. She improved to 16-4 on the season.

While Arends played hero against DePauw, she was unable to fill the same role against La Crosse. With Madsen and Taylor on base again with two outs, Arends grounded out to shortstop, sealing the one run loss.

Arends was not the only Bear at fault this game. The Bears outhit the Eagles nine to five, but went 2-10 with runners in scoring position during the game, with both hits coming in the bottom of the third.

The Red and Green’s lone run came in that inning when a single by Clapp, now playing third base, and a double by Steinberg put runners on second and third with no outs. Three batters later, Taylor delivered a two-out single through the right side of the infield that scored Clapp from third. Steinberg, however, was thrown out at home to end the inning.

The Eagles evened the score in the next frame with a leadoff home run and then pulled ahead with a two out triple followed by an infield single. It was enough of a cushion to stave off a Bears’ offense unable to muster a clutch hit.

Pitkin took the loss after pitching a complete game with two earned runs and seven strikeouts.

Against Eau Claire, the Bears capitalized on four errors to score five unearned runs in the win. Junior right fielder Kenzie James and Hofer paced the Bears’ offense with three hits a piece. Clapp earned the six inning victory to improve to 8-4.

In the Hope game, Taylor provided the big blow; a two run home run to left field that scored junior left fielder Hannah Mehrle in the bottom of the first. Mehrle then delivered a two-out RBI single in the next inning to score Clapp. Hofer hit a sacrifice fly to plate Arends in the third to round out the scoring for the Bears. Pitkin twirled six shutout innings with six strikeouts to earn the win as the starter, while Clapp came in for the seventh inning to shut the door.

Next up, the Bears have an exhaustive six game slate from Thursday to Sunday, with pairs of games against Greenville College, Principia College and Blackburn College. The Principia doubleheader on Friday will be the only games the Bears will host.