Senior day is bittersweet for Blue Demons


Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

Current senior Madison Fisher slides into second base during DePaul’s game against Creighton at Cacciatore Stadium on April 28, 2019.

DePaul softball took the field bright and early Saturday morning for the start of a three-game series against Creighton.

Despite being sixth in the Big East conference standings and DePaul being second, Creighton came out firing in the first game, putting five runs on the board in the top of the second inning.

DePaul starting pitcher Krista Dalgarn was not able to finish that inning and was replaced by Natalie Halvorson, who was able to get a fly-out to keep the Blue Jays from inflicting more damage.

The Blue Demons slowly started to come into their own when Kate Polucha got hit by a pitch and Gabby O’Riley reached on an infield single.

Angela Scalzitti was able to manufacture a double that scored both Polucha and O’Riley and cut the deficit to three runs.

The rain began to come down in the third inning and transitioned to small pellets of hail by the fifth.

DePaul once again found themselves trailing by five and tried to make a comeback once again.

With one out recorded in the fifth, Maranda Gutierrez walked and Jessica Cothern ripped a home run to right field, that narrowly missed a window at McCabe Hall, and DePaul closed to a 7-4 deficit.

The Blue Demons continued their rally with walks by Morgan Greenwood and Kate Polucha before O’Riley stepped up for her at-bat.

DePaul had just gotten the momentum back in their favor when Creighton pitcher Kiele Miller began to complain that she could not grip the ball properly because of the heavy rain that was coming down and the game was suspended.

The game resumed on Sunday with DePaul looking to change the outcome.

There was no action until the bottom of the seventh inning when Greenwood walked. Madison Fisher came in to run for her and advanced to third base on a throwing error from Creighton’s third baseman that allowed Polucha to reach second. O’Riley then hit a sacrifice fly into foul territory that scored Fisher and meant DePaul was within two.

That was all they could muster and they lost the first game of the three game series by a score of 7-5.

After the conclusion of the suspended game, the Blue Demons’ seniors were honored in what is their last series at Cacciatore Stadium of their career. Brianna Viles, Alysia Rodriguez, Morgan Greenwood and Sabrina Kuchta were all honored.

“I knew it was my last weekend out here so I was just trying to have a good time with my team,” Viles said. “Go all out and really just enjoy the last experience.”

The team fed off of the energy of the senior day ceremony by scoring three runs in both the first and second innings.

In the first, the Blue Demons only manufactured one hit but had two walks and one batter hit by a pitch.

In the second, the bats were the ones doing the damage, as Gutierrez hit a deep home run to left field that scored Viles. Greenwood then doubled off the top of the outfield fence and was brought home by another double by Polucha.

“I think our team has a lot of drive, we don’t like to lose,” Viles said. “I think this is just gonna fuel us to come out with a fire next weekend and really put it away.”

Creighton had a big hole to come back from and started by getting one run in the top of the fourth inning.

The Blue Demons looked to be set for a five-run win when the Blue Jays came up with the top of the order in the seventh inning. The first batter took a walk and scored on an RBI double from freshman Kiara Mills.

Two more runners reached base before Kailey Wilson came up to bat. She hit a no-doubt home run to deep center field and the five-run lead became one in a matter of minutes.

Krista Dalgarn came in to relieve Natalie Halvorson and got the two Creighton batters to strikeout and pop out to get DePaul the narrow win by a score of 6-5.

Before the third and final game of the series, DePaul honored the last two Big East champion teams as well as alumni.

The Blue Jays quickly took a 3-0 lead after two innings.

The Blue Demons rallied back in the third on a double by Cothern that scored Erin Andris.

Creighton scored another three runs in the fourth inning on two home runs.

This time Halvorson came in to relieve Dalgarn and was able to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth inning Greenwood hit a home run to left-center field and DePaul was within four.

Scalzitti scored soon after on a sacrifice fly by Rodriguez to make it a three-run game.

DePaul, however, ended up losing game three 6-4.

“What we talked to them [about] postgame is just making sure we take care of the little things, we didn’t take advantage of certain pitches and let them sort of get the upper hand,” head coach Tracie Adix-Zins said. “We need to learn from it, learn that we need to be a little bit better, and make minor adjustments.”

With over 15 innings of softball in a five-hour stretch, Adix-Zins also spoke on keeping the team ready to go.

“We just gotta take care of our bodies, we got a lot of games this week,so that’s the biggest thing making sure that they get the rest that they need,” Adix-Zins said. ”Hopefully they take advantage of a little bit of rest, and take the mentality that we’ve had this entire season and take that into the last little bit.”

DePaul will travel to Loyola on Tuesday and Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on Wednesday before they finish their last Big East series on the road at the Villanova Wildcats.