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Plenty of positives from spring training

Plenty of positives from spring training

The Cyclones got an early jump on the season with 10 games during spring training in Florida, March 10-16. Although they went 3-7 over the week, they had some takeaways to propel them.

In their first doubleheader March 10, the Cyclones split two. Their first was a big 7-1 win over Marietta College JV. Karly Krown started on the mound, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out five. Jessica Coyle and Darcee Nichols each had three hits in the game.

Their 2-1 loss to Mott Community College was rough after Liz McCuan pitched an outstanding game. Moraine Valley led 1-0 in the fifth when Mott tied things with consecutive extra base hits, including the go-ahead unearned run on an error with two outs. The Cyclones had scoring opportunities in every inning, but struggled to get key hits.

The following day was a rough sweep the Cyclones endured. They lost 10-0- to Cuyahoga Community College and 8-5 to Niagara County Community College. Errors were the culprit in the first game that allowed seven unearned runs. The offense was dormant except for Samantha Stahl who had two hits.

Against Niagara, a struggling defense allowed seven more unearned runs. Stahl started and allowed eight runs only one of which was earned. Krown pitched in relief to shut down the Thunderwolves' offense. After Niagara took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Moraine Valley answered with two to tie the score. Angela Abrand and Donna Booe each had three hits in the game with Booe driving in two runs. Nichols and McCuan added two hits each.

On March 13 the Cyclones split another two with Iowa Lakes Community College: lost 7-6 and won 3-2 in extra innings.

Krown started in the circle and allowed Iowa Lakes to jump to a 3-0 lead on a first inning three-run homerun. Moraine Valley answered with two runs in the third on a double from Nichols and single from Booe. The lead jumped up 6-2 for Iowa until the fifth when McCuan scored on an error to make it 6-3. Booe tied the game with a towering three-run homerun to left. Iowa scratched a run across in the sixth, however, for the win.

The second game saw Booe become the walk-off hero. McCuan tossed another gem, going 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, only one earned, and striking out six. Moraine Valley was up 1-0 until the sixth when Iowa tied the game after a walk and triple to right. After seven innings both teams were deadlocked at one. The international tiebreaker saw Iowa score after bunting a runner to third and scoring on a sac fly to right. Two walks later, Mariah Martinez came in relief to get the last out. In the bottom of the eighth with only three more outs to win, Kaminski beat out a sac bunt to put Martinez at third. The umpires called it a dead ball out on Kaminski and put Martinez back at second. Abrand beat out an infield hit that sent Martinez to third. She scored when the next hitter, Nichols, doubled to center to tie the game and move Abrand to third. Booe then scored Abrand on a line drive to left center for the walk-off win.

The Cyclones followed up that excitement with another split doubleheader on March 14. The first was a 9-1 loss to five-time defending national champions Rock Valley College. The Golden Eagles scored five in the first inning off Liz McCuan, who walked six batters. Abrand scored the lone run after she singled, took second on a Nichols groundout and crossed the late on Booe's single.

Redemption came in the nightcap when the Cyclones crushed SUNY Adirondack 11-3. Martinez earned the win, going six innings and striking out six. Madi Davis, Booe and Abrand each pounded out three hits. Booe hit two doubles and Abrand, Jessica Coyle and Annabelle Fritz each added doubles in the rout. Booe drove in three more runs to continue her torrid hitting.

In their final outing March 16, the Cyclones dropped two: A 9-1 loss to Madison College and a 3-2 loss to Onondaga Community College.

Madison scored two unearned runs in the first inning, but the Cyclones answered with a run in the second when Stahl scored on a wild pitch. Moraine Valley denied a big inning when Morgan Moran laid down a perfect bunt she beat out. Stahl and Davis both scored on the play. However, Moran was called running out of the baseline, which sent both runners back to first and second. McCuan struggled in the circle, and the WolfPack tacked on runs while the Cyclone offense went cold.

The final game of the trip was a narrow loss. The Cyclones struggled offensively all game until the seventh. Martinez started on the mound going five innings allowing just three hits and two earned runs. After being shut out for the first six innings, the Cyclone offense showed some life. Fritz led off with a single but was put out at second on a Davis's fielder's choice grounder. After Davis took third on a Moran groundout, Kaminski slammed a two-out double to the left field fence scoring Davis. Abrand followed with a line-drive single to center that scored Kaminski to make it 3-2. Nichols slammed a ball to left center that looked like a double off the bat, but it hung up long enough for the outfielder to make the running catch and end the game.

"Going 3-7 on the trip was not what we were anticipating. We realistically should have been 7-3. We beat ourselves in four of those games," said second-year Head Coach Scott Sobol. "However, we brought a lot of positives. Donna Booe showed the type of dominate player she is and will be for Moraine Valley. The dynamic duo at the top of the order—Angela Abrand and Darcee Nichols—have provided the type of igniting any good offense needs. The pitching staff did an outstanding job—Liz McCuan, Karly Krown, Samantha Stahl and Maria Martinez. We are blessed with great and deep pitching. We have some extremely positive things going for us as we start the season."