GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Calvin swept a non-conference doubleheader from the University of Chicago on Thursday, winning game one 8-6 and game two 6-5 in eight innings.
Calvin 8, Chicago 6
Calvin used a six-run rally in the fourth inning to gain the lead and evventually gain the win. Chicago scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first to grab the early lead. Calvin fought back with run-scoring singles from senior Kayla Groen (Frankfort, Il./Lincoln-Way East HS) and Grace Stock (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg HS) to claw within one. Chicago added a run in the top of the fourth to build a 4-2 lead but Calvin answered with a six-run frame. Sophomore Sidney Duong (Kalamazoo, Mich./Kalamazoo Christian HS) and senior Hannah Horvath (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia HS) had run-scoring singles while junior Hannah Biddlecome (Portage, Mich./Portage Central HS) had a two-run RBI double. The Knights picked up a pair of unearned runs to close out the fourth which proved pivotal as the visiting Maroons scored a run in the sixth and one in the seventh. Trailing 8-6, Chicago had runners at the corners with two outs. Chicago's Savannah Pinedo sent a sharp ball into shallow right field but Biddlecome was there to glove the hot shot and throw a strike to first base to end the game with the 9-3 assist. The game-ending play marked the second time in the game that Biddlecome cut down a Chicago runner at first base from her right field spot.
Calvin 6, Chicago 5 (8 innings)
Calvin (5-1) overcame deficits on five different occasions to gain the come-from-behind win. Calvin trailed 2-0 early but tied the game in the third on an RBI triple by Biddlecome and a run-scoring single by freshman Emma Springer (Three Oaks, Mich./River Valley HS. Trailing 3-2, the Knights tied the game back up on a sacrifice fly by Duong in the fourth. Trailing 4-3, Calvin tied the game with an RBI single by freshman Ali Schultz (Wyoming, Mich./Wyoming HS) in the bottom of the fifth.
The game went into extra-innings and with the international tie-breaker rule, Chicago (2-5) placed a runner on second to open the inning. The Maroons brought home the go-ahead run with a two-out single.
Calvin answered again, this time for good. Duong was placed on second to open the inning and promptly stole second. She then raced home on a ground ball by Horvath who reached base on the play and moved to second as the Maroons attempted to choke off the tying run at home. Biddlecome walked and moved to second with Horvath moving to third on a wild pitch. Horvath then raced home on a passed ball to complete the comeback win.
Horvath and Biddlecome had two hits apiece.
Senior Ellie Borst (Hudsonille, Mich./Unity Christian HS) went the first 4.1 innings, striking out five. Leegwater came on in relief and picked up the win in 2.2 innings of work to up her season record to 2-0.
COACHES COMMENT: "It was great that we were able to grind out two wins today," said Calvin softball head coach Becky Hilgert. "Our young squad is still learning each other on the field and working through adverse situations but they keep fighting and supporting each other. The season is young but we have to continue to work to get better. We have some players step in during key moments and take advantage of the opportunity when their number was called. I was most impressed with how we continued to battle and found a way to dig out of a few holes and find a way to prevail in each game."
NEXT UP: Calvin will travel to Alma on Friday to compete in three-team MIAA pod. Calvin will face Alma at noon and Saint Mary's at 2 p.m.