With the beginning of spring comes the start of the softball season for Lawrence University. This year, the team impressively carries 12 players, a much smaller squad than in past years. Though having a smaller team has its disadvantages, it does allow individual players to rise up time and again, making the plays and helping their team win the game. The season began away from the cold of Appleton in the warmth of Tucson, Ariz. Apparently excited about being away from Wisconsin, the softball team played well in the beginning of their trip. They began their season winning their first three games, a great sign for the rest of their season. However, a string of good opponents and tough losses caused them to end their trip on a somewhat sour note, losing their final seven games. The Vikings hit well over the break, with seven players above or near the .300 mark. Senior Megan Butterbrodt and freshman Carli Gurholt had great power numbers over the break, hitting home runs and leading the Vikings in RBIs. Sophomore Alex Goodson, senior captain Carrie Van Groll and junior Jenna Reichel also played well over break, hitting at or above .400 and contributing to much of the scoring. Senior Cat Marinac started a majority of the games in Arizona, recording all three Lawrence wins. This past weekend, the Vikings hosted Carroll College, their first conference opponents of the year. Splitting and sweeping series early in conference are extremely important to the direction of the season, and the Vikings made it a goal to do either one in the conference opener. In the first game of the double-header, Lawrence jumped to an early 3-0 lead after Butterbrodt hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first. Lawrence then coasted with the lead for the entirety of the game, with much help from their pitching ace Marinac and well-played defense. Lawrence won the first game 4-2. The second game of the double-header did not finish as well as the first. Carroll jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Lawrence retaliated in the bottom of the inning to even out the score 1-1. However, Lawrence went scoreless the next two innings while the Pioneers scored one run in the third and four in the fourth. Down 6-1, Lawrence battled back evening up the score in the bottom of the sixth, after holding Carroll scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings. Tied going into the seventh, the Pioneers scored two runs off of three hits, but were also given an error that undoubtedly helped. The Vikings, down again heading into the final inning, tried to climb uphill once again. Opportunity was given in the bottom of the seventh when the Vikings had two on and only one out. Unfortunately, good pitching saved the Pioneers, as the Vikings went down quietly in the seventh and lost 8-6. In the two-game series, the Vikings batted .263, significantly lower than they hit in Arizona. The cold Wisconsin air, however, could not stop Butterbrodt from hitting two home runs in the series or Gurholt from hitting one. The Vikings played great defense, committing only three errors over the two games. The Vikings play at Lakeland College April 10. This coming weekend, they play in the Midwest Conference Classic in Janesville, Wis. This classic is important to their season and the team would appreciate all the fans they can get.