DePauw softball takes third in North Coast Athletic Conference tournament


Top seeded DePauw left everything on the field despite falling to Allegheny College and Wittenberg College to take third overall in the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament.
The DePauw Tigers dropped to Allegheny 8-0 in the opening game on Friday and faced Kenyon College to eliminate the Kenyon Ladies from the series. Facing Wittenberg in the final game, the Tigers played a close game losing by one run in the bottom of the seventh, 6-5.
Fourth-seed Allegheny won the tournament to automatically qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Championships. Allegheny beat Wittenberg in the seventh and final game to claim the title, 3-2 after losing to Wittenberg in game six, 7-4.
The Allegheny Gators started the opener game against the Tigers hot and ready to go. They scored two runs in the second inning and then five runs in the third to lead the Tigers, 7-0.
Facing Allegheny's pitcher Caitlin Nealer, named MVP of the tournament, DePauw knew it would be hard to get a hit past her, but still managed to total four hits throughout the game. In the first inning freshman Haleigh Chasteen hit a single to center to land on first base.
"The team was hot," head coach Erica Hanrahan said. "All the credit goes to them and stringing the bats [together] and hitting the ball well."
Again in the third it was Chasteen who singled down center and then freshman Linsey Button singled to center field to push Chasteen to second. Chasteen advanced to third on a pass, but was unable to score as the three outs were called.
Sophomore Jennifer Ridge was the fourth player able to get a hit past Nealer in the fourth inning when she singled to right.
The Tigers faced Kenyon after losing to Allegheny and were able to continue on in the tournament after a 6-1 win. The team knew they needed to step up their game after the tough loss to Allegheny.
"We knew this could be the end and it really pushed us to our limits," senior Amy Hallet said. "It brought us to reality and even though we were number one in the conference we needed to fight and come back. We needed to work to beat these teams."
The Tigers started out on the right foot with a three run lead in the first by sophomore Lauren Krumwiede, Hallet and Button. Hallet and Button came home on freshman Sammi Bell's double to right center field.
DePauw continued to tally up runs as freshman pinch runner Morgan Pigusch scored when Bell attempted to sixth when freshman Amanda Chastang scored on freshman Hailey Freres hit to left.
The girls never gave up during the tournament and battled back against Kenyon and Wittenberg.
"The girls rallied together," Hanrahan said. "The girls have so much fight in them when things don't go our way. There's nothing more that I want to see in a team than for them to fight until the end."
The Tigers eliminated the Ladies from the tournament and continued onto face Wittenberg. This was the last game DePauw played in the tournament losing by just one run, 6-5.
DePauw trailed Wittenberg 5-0 until the third where the Tigers were able to put one run on the board. Bell scored on a homer to left. The Tigers next run came in the fifth when Hallet scored on Chasteen's double.
In the seventh the Tigers gave everything they had to try and pull out the win over Wittenberg, but an out was called before that final run could be made. The Tigers were eliminated from the tournament.
DePauw ended the game losing 6-5 to Wittenberg and had a 22-17 record for the season. Chasteen and Bell have been selected to the all-tournament team.
Chasteen relaxed for the tournament and knew how to play the game she's grown up playing to have her best weekend yet.
"I didn't think I was going to make it," Chasteen said. "As freshman it feels good to get recognized. We have worked so hard. It's really cool that we made it as freshman."
Looking forward to another season the team will welcome eight new freshmen to kick off a new season after eight seniors graduate. Next year is another year for the softball team to grow and get new faces on the field.
Hanrahan anticipates next year's season saying, "We're in great shape as a program and we're in the right place doing good stuff."