Softball off to a winning start

Eric Follett

The Lawrence University Women’s Softball team headed to Janesville, Wisc. last weekend to compete in the Midwest Conference Classic Tournament. After a rainout against MSOE last week, Lawrence was ready to play, and they finished the weekend above .500 in conference play.
The first game against Illinois College started slowly, but the Vikings quickly turned it around, with their defense giving their offense a spark in the top of the third inning.
With the Vikings down five runs, junior Carli Gurholt and senior Alex Goodson turned a double play. In the next play, Gurholt caught a line drive.
In the fourth inning, a homerun by Goodson brought the Vikings’ deficit to four runs. Three more home runs in the fifth by freshman Kathy Kaye, sophomore Katie Simonsen and Goodson brought the Vikings back to a tie game.
A solid sixth-inning hit by sophomore Emily Perish secured two more runs in that game, and the final score was Lawrence 9, Illinois College 6, giving the Vikings a win in their conference opener.
Despite the best efforts of the Lawrence squad in the second game against Lake Forest, the Foresters came out with guns blazing and scored two runs in the first inning.
Lawrence came back, but the Vikings would be matched by Lake Forest for the rest of the game. Gurholt hit a home run in the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough. The final score was 4-2 in favor of Lake Forest.
In the third game of the weekend against Monmouth, Lawrence lost its steam. After getting off to a rough start, Lawrence was unable to make up for early errors.
During the fourth inning, a short pop-up bunt by Monmouth ended with freshman catcher Dani Cherry injured.
“The players that came into the game after losing Dani really stepped it up,” Simonsen said after the game. Goodson hit her third and fourth homeruns of the weekend, but her effort was in vain. The final score was Monmouth 9, Lawrence 5.
Lawrence wrapped up the weekend on Sunday with a 9-0 win over Grinnell College and an even easier 13-3 win over Knox College. The Vikings finished the tournament 3-2, leaving Lawrence (11-5, 3-2 MWC) tied for third place in the Midwest Conference’s much tougher North Division.
The Vikings plan on practicing hard in the upcoming weeks. Despite their strong start, they will need to prepare to the fullest for future opponents, as four teams in the North Division – St. Norbert, Ripon, Carroll and Lawrence – have started conference play strong.