It has not been an easy start to April weather-wise for the Lawrence University softball team. The cold, wet, windy and snowy weather has postponed six games so far and has forced the team inside for practice on numerous occasions. Even so, the team is keeping a positive attitude about the weather. Junior Amanda Karnatz said, “We make the best out of the situation. It is hard to go from playing outside to being in the gym, but we do the best we can.” Sophomore Ceara Larson added that some keys to battling the weather are, “Lots of layers and flexible schedules! The biggest thing is being able to adjust to the elements and just keep battling.”
This past weekend, the team escaped the Wisconsin wind and cold by traveling south to Lake Forest, Illinois, for a double header against Monmouth College. The team is in the heart of their conference schedule, so these matchups are important for determining the final standings and who makes the conference tournament.
In the first game, neither team wasted time before scoring their first run. Monmouth put one run on the board in the top half of the first inning and Lawrence responded in the bottom half of the inning when junior Emilia Jackson drew the bases loaded walk to score Karnatz. Monmouth added another run in the second inning. The Lady Vikes then took a 3-2 lead in the third when junior Lexi Angemi singled to score senior Sophie Pederson. This was followed by a single from senior Madeline MacLean which scored Larson. Monmouth took the lead back in the top of the fourth inning as they scored two runs. Lawrence added one run in the bottom of the inning to cut the Monmouth lead to 5-4 on a Monmouth error. A Monmouth homer in the seventh inning made the score 6-4 and though the Lady Vikes were able to add another run in the game on a MacLean single that scored junior Maria Reiter, they could not score enough and lost a close game 6-5.
The second game belonged to Monmouth. Once again, both teams scored a run in the first inning. Lawrence’s run came off of a Larson single that scored Karnatz. However, this was the only run the Lady Vikes would get in the game. Monmouth scored a run in the third inning, two in the fourth and added another in the seventh to win the game 5-1. Lawrence did have more hits than Monmouth with nine compared to Monmouth’s eight in the contest. There were also two doubles for the Lady Vikes in the contest hit by MacLean and sophomore Liz Jonjak.
The two losses drop Lawrence’s record to 7-15 overall and 4-4 in Midwest Conference play. Even so, the team is keeping a positive attitude about things and working on getting better. “The season has been going alright,” said Karnatz. “There have been some close games that we have lost, but we have been competing.” Larson added, “We are off to a strong start in conference and figuring out our flow as a team. We are learning more every game and are excited to continue conference play!”
The team hopes to keep improving. As Karnatz explained, “One of our team goals has been to get better every day no matter the outcome of games. Another goal would be to make the conference tournament.” Larson echoed this sentiment saying, “I’m really excited to see us finish out conference play and keep fighting to make conference!”
Currently, Lawrence is sixth in the Midwest Conference standings. The top four teams make the conference tournament, so there is work to do. Yet, they are not that far behind and there are lots of games still yet to be played. While the team knows that the rest of the season will not be easy, they are looking forward to the challenge. “I am looking forward to finishing the season on a high note,” said Karnatz. “I know that we have a chance to do fairly well in the conference.”
The Vikings will play a lot of games in the next week and a half. Lawrence is scheduled to be back in action on Thursday, Apr. 18, when they host Ripon College for a double header. Next, University of Chicago will travel up to Appleton for a double header on Saturday, Apr. 20. Then it is right back into conference play as they close out their season the following week against the remaining conference foes.