Vikings sweep into playoffs

Andy York

The Lawrence University softball team got the offense it needed when it needed it, and with two two-game sweeps of Carroll and Beloit, the LU softball team is going to the Midwest Conference Tournament for the third straight year.The Vikings were led in their four games by MWC player of the week Jenny Burris. Burris went 8-11, hitting ,727 with two home runs, a triple and three RBIs. Burris, the senior captain, will need to continue her hot hitting for the Vikings to fare well this weekend in the MWC Tournament in Lake Forest.

The Vikings got their first win in a 3-2 victory over Carroll. The Vikings were leading 2-0 when, in the top of the seventh, Burris hit her first of two home runs against the Pioneers. Carroll would score two in the bottom of the seventh, but it wouldn’t be enough, as the Vikings squeaked out the win. In game two the Vikings scored one in the first, and two in the third to stake their 3-1 lead. Burris’ solo shot in the top of the fifth would be insurance and Lauren Kost would pick up both victories for LU.

The Vikings went into their doubleheader against Beloit knowing they needed a sweep to advance to the MWC Tournament. A loss, and St. Norbert would join Ripon in representing the Northern Division.

The first game was all LU. They scored their first run in the bottom of the first on a Burris RBI ground out and wouldn’t look back. They scored one in the second, two in the third, and one more in the fifth to win easily 5-0. Kost was almost perfect on the mound, allowing only three hits in the game.

Game two would be the game that would be the most stressful on the Vikings and their coaching staff. The Vikings got their sole run in the top of the third. Molly Bouressa walked to start off the inning, and then after a sacrifice, she would score on Becca Reason’s single and that was all Kost would need. She only gave up two hits in the nightcap, shutting down the Beloit offense and sending the Vikings back to the MWC Tournament for their third consecutive season.

The MWC Tournament will begin today at Lake Forest. The Northern winner Ripon will start it off at 10 a.m. today against South runner-up Monmouth. The Vikings will play next at noon against the host Foresters. The tournament is double-elimination. The Foresters are two-time defending champions, and the road will not be easy. The Vikings have played all four teams this season, defeating Monmouth 2-1. The Vikings lost to Lake Forest 4-0, and they split a pair with Ripon, with LU winning 2-1 and Ripon winning 3-0. The Tournament concludes tomorrow, with the winner getting the automatic NCAA bid.