Sam Smith | Staff Writer
The Wheaton Thunder softball team continued its strong start to the 2014 campaign with a doubleheader sweep at home of Hope College on Friday, March 28.
Wheaton took the first game easily by a score of 10-2 to give sophomore pitcher Katie Thornton her fourth win of the season. Hope got on the board in the first inning with two unearned runs, but Wheaton came back in the bottom half with four thanks in part to a two-run single by sophomore Alyssa Leonard. The Thunder then added four more in the second and two in the fourth. Hope did not score after the opening frame. Wheaton finished with 13 hits on the game as seven starters recorded a hit. Senior Stacey Cladis led the charge at the plate by going 3-for-3 with a home run and a couple of RBIs. Leonard knocked in three of her own, and sophomore Christina Sandstedt drove in one while scoring three. Thornton gave up the two unearned runs on four hits with six strikeouts in five innings and drove in a run while going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Game two featured a little more drama. After both teams failed to score in the first two innings, Hope jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third. Freshman Abby Butler was replaced in the inning by freshman Marisa Voss, who quieted down the Dutchmen’s bats the rest of the way. Wheaton added two runs in the fifth on a wild pitch and an RBI by Thornton. Hope then picked up another run in the top of the sixth to push the lead up to 5-2, but the Thunder bats came alive in the bottom of the inning. Junior Becky Leone brought in junior Abby Coster to cut the lead to two and a single by senior Jessica Goeke brought in two to even the game at five. A double by Sandstedt brought home a run to give Wheaton the lead and Cladis brought in another with a single to center. Voss then shut the door in the top of the seventh to give Wheaton the win 8-5 to improve to a record of 12-4 on the year. Leone went 3-for-3 on the game with the RBI and a pair of runs scored to lead the way at the plate and Voss recorded the win in relief, finishing with one run allowed on three hits and four strikeouts. She is 2-1 on the season.
The Thunder were scheduled to host the Wheaton Invitational the next day but the tournament was postponed until April 26th. After a doubleheader against Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, they will play their first conference action of the season on Saturday when they host a twinbill against Illinois Wesleyan at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.