BLOOMINGTON, Il. - Calvin's softball season came to a close on Saturday evening as the Knights fell to host Illinois Wesleyan 8-0 in six innings in an NCAA III Regional Tournament final.
Ranked 25th nationally, Calvin concludes its season with a 31-10 overall record, one shy of matching the Calvin single-season record for victories. The Knights advanced to the NCAA III Regional finals for the second straight year and hit the 30-win plateau for the third time in school history.
Ranked seventh nationally, Illinois Wesleyan (36-7) scored a pair of runs in the first inning to take the early momentum and nearly looked back. The Titans scored four in the third and two in the sixth to complete the run-rule victory.
Calvin loaded the bases in the fifth but did not score.
The Knights had six hits including one off the the bat by senior Maddie DeGroot (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) that marked the 200th base hit of her career. DeGroot concludes her career as Calvin's all-time leader in hits (200), triples (12), at bats (548) and runs scored (127). In the fourth, DeGroot just missed hitting a two-run homer as her deep fly to left sailed wide of the foul pole by inches.
Sophomore Hannah Biddlecome (Portage, Mich./Portage Northern HS) went 2-for-2 with a walk, finishing the season with a .418 batting average which ranks seventh on the Calvin single-season list. Her 56 hits on the season rank fifth on the Calvin single-season list.
Junior Kayla Groen (Frankfort, Il./Lincoln-Way East HS) had a base hit in the loss and finished the year with 94 total bases to establish a new Calvin single-season record, surpassing the previous mark of 88 set by Lina Avila in 2012. Groen also finished with nine home runs on the season as did junior Abi Colon (Caledonia, Mich./South Christian HS) which matches the third-best single-season mark in Calvin softball history. Colon also had 40 RBI on the year, ranking second on the Calvin single-season list.
Junior Hannah Horvath (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia HS) had one hit in the game and finished the season with 17 stolen bases which ranks third on the Calvin single-season stolen base list.
Senior Anna Gernant (West Des Moines, Ia./Valley HS) took the loss on Saturday to close out the season 9-5 and her career at 51-26. She struck out four batters on Saturday to finish her career with 686 career strikeouts. Gernant finishes ranked third on the Calvin career list for victories and second in strikeouts.
Joining Gernant and DeGroot in their final game in a Calvin uniform on Saturday were seniors Kristen Newman (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea HS), Rachel Borden (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg HS). Borden also had a base hit in her final game in a Calvin uniform.
COACHES COMMENT: "We made a mistake or two in the first inning and that's tough to do against a team as talented as they are," said Calvin head softball coach Becky Hilgert of Illinois Wesleyan. "It seemed like we put base runners on in every inning. We just couldn't get the key hit. They (Illinois Wesleyan) have a great pitching staff and kept us off the board.
Maddie (DeGroot) came a few inches from hitting a two-run homer and that would have made it a little different game at that point. Overall, I'm just very proud of my team for never complaining and continuing to battle. We had all kinds of adversity this year but our players never complained. They continued to roll with things and for that, I'm very proud of them."