Calumet spoils IUC softball field debut

Lexi Heafner

IU Columbus christened its new softball diamond on Sunday afternoon, but the Crimson Pride weren’t in any mood for celebrating after dropping both games of a doubleheader.

Calumet College of St. Joseph proved not to be gracious guests by sweeping IUC 17-6 and 25-3, both in five innings.

While Calumet (4-5) had played seven games prior to Sunday, the Crimson Pride were playing their season openers.

“We have to take it one step at a time at this point,” IUC coach Tommi Stowers said. “We realize that we still have a lot of work to do. I think today just really showed what all they need to work on and it was very much a humbling experience to show that we are not done learning and not done growing. “

The Crimson Pride were within 7-6 in the opener before Calumet scored twice in the fourth and broke it open with eight in the fifth off IUC starter Sydney Owens and reliever Delanie Bronner. Mallory Shelton went 3 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs, and Gracie Holok went 3 for 3 with two RBIs to lead the Crimson Pride at the plate.

In the second game, Calumet scored 10 times in the second off starter Erica Henry. Henry eventually got relief help from Emerie Russell and Lexi Rieckers. Lexi Heafner, a sophomore from Columbus North and transfer from Lincoln Trail, led IUC with a 2 for 2 performance at the plate.

Stowers found a silver lining in the play of freshmen Shelton, Ashlyn Boltinghouse, Bronner, Rieckers and Jennings County graduate Abby McDonald.

“The freshmen came in clutch today,” Stowers said. “One freshman that particularly stood out today was Mallory Shelton. I think she’s going to be a great addition. I think our freshmen are definitely stepping up and proving that they deserve a chance for a starting spot.”

Bailey King

Meanwhile, it was a Calumet freshman who made a sizzling debut in her return to Columbus. Bailey King, a freshman from Columbus North, started at first base in the second game and went 3 for 4 with four RBIs. The hits and RBIs were the first of her collegiate career.

“It was nice to do it at home,” King said. “I guess I felt more comfortable here being at home and playing my favorite sport. It was a very strange feeling playing in a different uniform than a Columbus North uniform, but I love being home and showing out for my family and my friends.”

Things don’t get any easier for IUC. They return to action Friday for a doubleheader with NAIA No. 3-ranked Indiana Wesleyan at Ceraland.

“It definitely is going to come down to our defense picking our pitchers up,” Stowers said. “We have to make the routine plays before we can move on and compete and be successful with other teams.”