Vikings fall twice at MWC

Phil Roy

Last weekend the Lawrence softball team headed down to Lake Forest to compete in the MWC tournament. The Vikings joined Ripon, Grinnell and hosts Lake Forest in the double elimination contest.
First up for Lawrence was reigning conference champion Lake Forest. Just a couple of innings in and it was more than evident that this would be a defensive battle. Sophomore Carrie Van Groll’s single in the second inning was the only hit by either team in the first three innings.
Lake Forest got the scoreboard moving with two runs in the fourth and followed with two more in the sixth. Lawrence ended scoreless to record their first loss of the tournament. The Vikings’ ace Catherine Marinac put in a gutsy effort as she limited the Foresters to just four hits, compared to Lawrence’s two.
The pitcher commented that the host team was a tough team to play, especially at home, and commended Lawrence’s effort. The Foresters went undefeated at home in the regular season.
Lawrence went on to face rivals Ripon in their second game with both teams fighting to stay in the tournament. The Vikings jumped onto the scoreboard in the first inning with Becca Reason scoring on an error.
The Red Hawks tied the game in the top of the fourth before sophomore Justine Garbanski regained the lead with a two RBI double in the bottom of the same inning. Ripon then capitalized on a couple of errors in the field to tie the game at three apiece in the sixth inning.
Hits remained hard to come by as the teams battled down to the wire. Ripon would come out on top, however, scoring on a wild pitch in the eighth inning. Lawrence ended their season with a 17-16 record overall and went 8-5 within the conference.
Despite the postseason disappointment, Marinac appeared very content with the team’s successes over the course of the season. “We had a lot of fun,” said the sophomore pitcher. “Both my and the team’s performance was better that I had expected and we had a great time playing together.”
The Vikings graduate two seniors in Becca Reason and catcher Loni Philbrick-Linzmeyer. The two led the team in batting average and on base percentage. Philbrick-Linzmeyer completed a record setting season including setting the school season record for doubles and the career RBI record.
The catcher was pleased and surprised by her final season. “After graduating Lauren last year, we went into this season expecting to do reasonably well despite having a less prolific pitching staff,” remarked Philbrick-Linzmeyer. “Catherine came along and pleasantly surprised all of us, helping us win a lot of games”.
The Vikings have ended their season fourth in the conference for five years running and will look to extend their postseason in their next campaign.