The Lawrence University softball team finished third out of four teams at the MWC Tournament this past week at Lake Forest. The host Foresters easily cruised to their third consecutive title, and will be playing in the NCAA tournament this weekend.The Vikings got off to a rough first game against the Foresters. Lake Forest scored two runs in the first and never looked back en route to a 7-0 win. The Vikings could only muster three hits, one by Jenny Burris, one by Shannon Arendt, and one by Molly Bouressa. Lauren Kost took the loss for LU.
The second game was much better for the Vikings. They had to play immediately after the first game against the loser of the other first-round game, Monmouth. The Scots had lost to Ripon 5-4 in the opener.
This time it was the Vikings offense that came out hot from the start. They scored two runs in the first inning, and added another in the third to tie the game at three. The Vikings wasted no time taking the lead for good when they put up six runs in the fourth, which put the win out of reach for the Scots. Kost again went all seven innings for the Vikings, raising her record to 16-7 on the season. Burris and Loni Philbrick-Linzmeyer led the Vikings offensive attack. Burris went 2-3 with three runs scored and Philbrick-Linzmeyer went 2-4 with three RBIs.
The Vikings then had to meet rival Ripon in the early game on Saturday to see who would advance to play the Foresters in the championship game. This game was not to be for LU, however, as they got drubbed in five innings 8-0. Kost picked up the loss in three innings, with Pam Schimanski pitching the last two. Ripon pitcher Amanda Guay held LU to a sole hit, a Mo Batog single. Ripon would advance and get wiped away by Lake Forest 13-1 in the championship game.
This was the last game for many seniors on the Vikings roster. Most notably, it was the final game for All-Region shortstop Jenny Burris, and her double play partner Shannon Arendt. They will be sorely missed next spring in a Vikings lineup that has had them as starters for the past four seasons. The Vikings also will graduate Schimanski, Batog, and Jodie Primus. Our team will need several players to step up next season if they want to keep their string of consecutive conference tournaments alive… but don’t count them out.