Salukis seal up second place in MVC

By Gus Bode

Salukis seal up second place in MVC

SIU softball team splits doubleheader Saturday, loses 12th game of season due to weather Sunday

True to her word, Kendra Moore did not cry.


The SIU outfielder, along with fellow seniors Katie Kloess and Renee Mueller, had their careers honored following the Salukis doubleheader Saturday against Wichita State in the season’s final series.

The two teams split the doubleheader at Charlotte West Stadium-Rochman Field with the Shockers winning the first game 1-0 and SIU taking the second game 3-1. Sunday’s season finale was rained out.

While Kloess and Mueller, along with some of their teammates broke into tears during the post-game ceremony, Moore stood strong and while her eyes were red at a point, never broke down.

“I didn’t cry,” Moore said proudly following the ceremony. “I was so happy that it wasn’t like I needed to cry. I was in a good mood.”

Junior third baseman Haley Viefhaus said the senior festivities always get to her because of how much she cares for her teammates.

“It’s just sad because you don’t ever want to see anybody go,” Viefhaus said. “You just wish you could take this team and just keep going with it forever so it’s sad. I’m a lot closer with these seniors because they’re one year above me.

“I kind of look at it and be like oh my God, that’s going to be me next year.”


The No. 25 Salukis had hoped to sweep the two games for their seniors, but after losing the first, just wanted to win the second so that the atmosphere could be positive for the ceremony.

Moore emphasized she never wants to lose, but said if the Salukis had to lose a game Saturday, she was glad it was the first one.

“If we were going to lose, lose the first one because it made the ceremony a lot more fun,” Moore said with a smile. “I think we were a lot more relaxed and we could enjoy it a lot more.”

In the first game, sophomore pitcher Amy Harre threw a magnificent game, yet was still saddled with the loss.

Harre (20-8) pitched a complete game one-hitter, but an unearned run scored in the fourth inning was enough for Wichita State (38-16, 16-9 MVC) because Shocker pitchers Lindsay Craig and Lindsey Lang combined to allow just three hits.

Wichita State left fielder Stephanie Scott drew a two-out walk to set up the Shockers’ run.

The next hitter, second baseman Lindsey Abbott, cranked a pitch into right-center field and SIU outfielders Maria Damico and Lindsey Bonnell both made valiant efforts to catch the ball.

Damico dove and caught the ball, but it fell out of her glove as she hit the ground.

Scott and Abbott never stopped running and Scott was waved home.

The Salukis executed a perfect relay and catcher Adie Viefhaus had the ball in plenty of time to nail Scott at the plate.

But Scott never slowed down and plowed Viefhaus, causing the ball to squirt away from the junior.

SIU had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the fifth inning with Damico at first and Adie Viefhaus at the plate.

Adie Viefhaus drove the pitch past the outfielders towards the right field wall, but Damico, one of SIU’s fastest runners, waited too long to start running and was eventually gunned down at third.

Wichita State pitchers held their ground after that to give the Salukis just their 10th loss of the season.

Haley Viefhaus said to lose a game in that fashion leaves the players in a sour mood and with a bad taste in their mouths.

“It was kind of one of those bad wins for them where they didn’t really earn it as much as we kind of gave it to them,” Viefhaus said. “That’s why we were upset after that game, but they did what they had to do to get a win so they deserve the credit.”

Blaylock said it was a difficult way to lose a game, but said things like that are just bound to happen over the course of a long season.

“It’s tough, but when you’re playing good caliber teams, it may only be something like that,” Blaylock said. “It can go one way or another.”

The second game was much better for the Salukis. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind RBI hits by Haley Viefhaus and Katie Louis.

Viefhaus said the team simply came out flat in the first game and Blaylock got on here players between games about not playing with the same intensity as they had all season.

The early lead proved to be just what the team needed to get back on track.

“It was important for us to do that to kind of get it in their heads that we’re not just going to lay down and die for them,” Viefhaus said.

The Shockers would answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the third inning, but a third SIU run was too much. The Salukis won and clinched second place in the MVC and a first-round by in the upcoming conference tournament.

Mueller picked up her 13th win of the season and Harre her fourth save as the two combined for a three hit, six-strikeout performance.

For the day, Wichita State tallied just four hits, which is amazing since the Shockers entered the series No. 1 in the conference in both hits and home runs.

Moore said being able to bounce back so quickly from a heartbreaking loss is something the team has done all year long and speaks volumes about the character of the team.

“We don’t let things like that get us down; we come right back and we come back even harder,” Moore said. “I think it shows a lot of integrity and a lot of discipline by our players to come right back.”

The Salukis finished the season with a 35-10 record and 18-6 mark in MVC play.

Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]