Playing two crucial conference doubleheaders in a span of four days, the Lawrence softball team was swept by the Ripon College Red Hawks 6-2 and 1-0 on April 18, and split a pair of games with the Beloit College Buccaneers. The Vikings won the first game 9-1, but lost the second 1-0 to Beloit on April 21. Lawrence’s season record stands at 7-18 with a 1-5 record in Midwest Conference play.
In the first game against Ripon, the Vikings held a 2-0 lead for most of the game. Lawrence struck first in the second inning when sophomores Brielle Bartes and Cory Paquette each hit RBI singles. That lead would hold until the sixth inning, when Ripon tied it on a two run homerun and put the game away with four more runs in the last inning. After the second inning, Lawrence only recorded two hits and were unable to distance themselves after the initial lead.
In the second game, junior Shannon Murray delivered a gem, pitching a complete game and allowing only five hits and one run. However, she was the hard luck loser as two Red Hawks pitchers combined to two-hit and shutout the Vikings. Only three Lawrence players reached base. Bartes and freshman Kara Vance were the two Lawrence players who recorded hits.
Against Beloit, the Vikings finally put an offensive attack together scoring nine runs on eight hits. Sophomore Mary Diduch and freshman Coley LaChance each had two hits for Lawrence. Junior Cathy Kaye led the team with two RBIs. Murray went the distance and picked up her sixth win of the season, allowing only three hits and striking out seven.
The nightcap gave the Vikings the exact same feeling they experienced against Ripon a few days earlier. Murray turned in another fine outing, pitching seven innings allowing five hits and only one run. However, she was outdueled by the Beloit pitcher as the Vikings only mustered three hits. LaChance, Murray and sophomore Alex Chiodo were the Viking players who got hits. Lawrence had their fair share of opportunities but were unable to cash in, going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The crucial play of the game was when sophomore pinch runner Jessica Robbins tried to score on an infield groundball in the sixth inning to tie up the game but she was thrown out at home plate by the third basemen.
Lawrence was in position in all three of their losses to win the game, either having the lead at one point or trailing by the slimmest of margins. “Our Ripon games were disappointing,” commented Murray. “Mostly because we had the lead and then lost it. However, coming back to split with Beloit was a good step forward to moving on for more wins.”
The Vikings’ postseason hopes look bleak, but they are looking to finish the season strong regardless of their position in the standings. “They were tough losses but we battled hard. It’s not going to derail us from giving our best effort to end our season strong. As of right now, conference is anyone’s game,” added Chiodo.