The Thunder Softball team faced a tough opponent last Friday when they traveled to Notre Dame, Ind. to face the now 14-1 Saint Mary’s College Softball team.
SMU scored early with two runs in the first inning after a scoreless first inning for Wheaton. Wheaton did not score a run in any of the seven innings, but the Thunder had four hits during the game.
These hits were credited to junior Kelly Thornton, sophomore Morgan Ryan, sophomore Melody Rodriguez and senior Megan Neuhaus who all hit singles.
“We had some really key plays in the field with Melody Rodriguez throwing out several of their players trying to steal second,” sophomore outfielder Maddy Bonetto said.
Later that evening in a second game, Saint Mary’s really displayed why they only have one loss so far this season. SMU scored 10 runs in seven innings, had 16 hits and no errors. Four of their runs were in the seventh inning.
Wheaton was shut out once again, but they had six hits in the second game. The Thunder also committed two errors. Senior starting pitcher Kendall Kehres pitched all seven innings for the Thunder, while Thornton was 2-for-3 from the plate. Senior Julia Arthur, junior Sophie Kent, sophomore Maddy Bonetto and Neuhaus also each hit singles, totaling Wheaton’s six hits.
“From our games against St. Mary’s the team took away that we need to be more productive with runners in scoring position,” Bonetto said.
The Wheaton Women’s Softball team will host a CCIW doubleheader on Friday, March 30 against Illinois Wesleyan University at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. as well as a home doubleheader against Hope College on Saturday, March 31 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Illinois Wesleyan swept a doubleheader against Wheaton last season to conclude the Thunder’s 2017-18 season. Then, IWU went on to win the CCIW Softball Championships. They played six games at NCAA DIII Regional Tournament where IWU lost one game and won five. The Titans qualified for the NCAA DIII National Softball Tournament before they were eliminated after three games. With one of the strongest DIII programs in the country in their conference right now, the Thunder are looking to be more competitive in the future.
“Moving forward we are definitely going to focus more on situational hitting and how we can have every at-bat be productive in some way,” Bonetto said regarding the season’s prospects.”