Indiana softball concluded its home-series finale this weekend with an 11th inning walk-off win over Illinois. The series marked the last time the Hoosiers’ seniors took Andy Mohr Field.
In a pitchers duel between Illinois senior Sydney Sickles and Indiana freshman Heather Johnson, both teams entered the 11th inning scoreless. The Fighting Illini scored two runs, putting pressure on the Hoosiers.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Indiana senior utility player Brittany Ford stepped up to the plate for her final at-bat in Bloomington. She sent a ball over Illinois junior Danielle Davis’ head, scoring all three baserunners for a 3-2 walk-off win.
“There’s no other way I would’ve rather ended it here,” Ford said. “Everything feels like it has come full circle with that moment.”
Ford is one of five seniors on the Hoosiers’ roster, joined by pitchers Taylor Askland and Natalie Foor, utility player Juvia Davis and infielder Grayson Radcliffe.
“They’re a special group,” Indiana head coach Shonda Stanton said. “It’s been so incredibly fun to watch them grow into young women.”
Indiana’s seniors have had constant success on the field, and it starts with Radcliffe. Transferring from Marshall University in 2018, Radcliffe has been a two-time All-Big Ten Second Team selection and has been a veteran presence for the youthful Hoosiers.
Foor, who earned the win by pitching the final two outs Sunday, has battled through injuries in her career. In 2020, she missed her sophomore season, and has missed a large portion of this season as well.
Davis made an immediate impact on the program, appearing in 43 games in her freshman year. She stapled herself as an infielder starter as of late this season.
Askland has seen limited time as a Hoosier, pitching 8.2 innings in her four years of play.
Ford, Sunday’s game-winner, has worked her way up for a position in the lineup. Once a player making minimal appearances, mostly from pinch-hitting, Ford has become an everyday starter and a key batter for this season’s team.
“Brittany’s growth has been incredible in all phases,” Stanton said. “We call her ‘Big Clutch.’ Talk about an everyday hero.”
The senior class played 52 home games together as their sophomore season was shortened by COVID-19. The team had a 34-18 record at Andy Mohr Field over their time at Indiana.
While their careers at Andy Mohr Field are over, the seniors and the rest of the team still have unfinished business. The Hoosiers close out their regular season at Nebraska next weekend, and have postseason goals on their minds.
“We’re gonna try to get some quality wins next weekend,” Ford said. “We want to take that momentum into the Big Ten Tournament.”