The Lawrence softball team concluded their season at the start of the month with a 17-6 record (8-5 MWC). The Vikings qualified for the end of season conference tournament where they were ousted with losses to eventual champions Lake Forest and Ripon College. Coach Kim Tatro was kind enough to share her reflections on the season with me. “We entered the season with a lot of questions about how we would replace the loss of 2005 Midwest Conference Pitcher of the Year Lauren Kost,” said Tatro. “I can’t say enough about the type of season Catherine Marinac had. She was solid on the mound the entire season and clearly benefited from the knowledge and talent that Loni [Philbrick-Linzmeyer] possesses behind the plate.” Marinac, a sophomore from St. Paul, had a standout season posting a 13-10 record (7-3 MWC). The pitcher admits to having had second thoughts about committing to playing for the team this season, but was undoubtedly pleased with her final decision to play. Marinac was the Vikings go-to pitcher throughout the season and ended with an impressive 1.6 ERA within the conference. She was named MWC Pitcher of the Week twice during the season and completed four shutouts. Coach Tatro was also impressed with the team’s performance at the MWC tournament and commended them on holding an “explosive Lake Forest offense” to just four hits. “Our loss to Ripon in extra innings was tough. We had an early lead that didn’t hold, but I give Ripon all the credit for battling back,” said Tatro. Despite the results at the tournament, Lawrence’s presence at the event itself was quite commendable. The Vikings had to win three of their last four games against quality competition, and managed to do just that. Leading the way were the Vikings’ two seniors, Becca Reason and Loni Philbrick-Linzmeyer. Reason, a shortstop from Green Bay, ended her last season leading the team with a .382 overall batting average. The senior went four for four in one of Lawrence’s must-win games against Beloit at the end of the season with RBIs to tie the game and to give Lawrence the win. Catcher Philbrick-Linzmeyer had yet another stellar season, batting a massive .475 within conference. Philbrick-Linzmeyer also set the school season record for doubles and climbed to the top of the career RBI list. “While we may only lose two seniors to graduation, they have been the heart and soul of the program,” remarked Tatro. “Both Loni and Becca are four-year starters and have had outstanding careers. Replacing what they gave to our program both on and off the field the past four years will be a challenge.” Both Reason and Philbrick-Linzmeyer were given all-region honors with Philbrick-Linzmeyer named a second team catcher and Reason a third team shortstop in the All-Great Lakes region. All-conference honors are due to be released later this week. “I’m incredibly proud of this team’s accomplishments,” concluded Tatro. “We had a variety of people step up at different times during the year and that balance was an important factor in our success.” Congratulations to Becca and Loni for concluding standout careers as Vikings, and we’ll look to next year for new leadership, some more solid pitching, and hopefully a conference title.