Lakers sweep weekend games

By Brady Fredericksen | 3/20/11 8:19pm

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GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
Junior pitcher Andrea Nicholson throws a pitch during last season. The Laker’s home opener will be this Tuesday


The Grand Valley State University softball team continued its hot start to the season this weekend as it swept a slate of weekend games against Malone University, Notre Dame College (Ohio) and Urbana University during the Blue Knight Invitational in Urbana, Ohio.

Victory did not come easy for the Lakers (14-3) in Saturday’s first game, a 7-5 win against Malone. After being down 5-0 early, GVSU scored five runs in the fifth inning, including a two-run home run from freshman infielder Miranda Cleary.

The Lakers also defeated Urbana University 7-5 Sunday morning before beating Notre Dame (OH) 6-5 in the afternoon.

“Every game we’re so excited to hit and be ready to get on the field,” said Katie Martin, last season’s GLIAC Freshman of the Year. “It really helps getting ahead first on the scoreboard. We didn’t start off great in the first game, but we just need to get into our head that it’s really important.”

The Lakers added two more runs in the seventh inning thanks to a pair of newcomers. Fresh out of basketball season, sophomore infielder Briauna Taylor slapped an RBI single to drive in twin sister Brittany Taylor for the go-ahead run.

Martin, also a pitcher, got the win on the mound after throwing 3 1/3 scoreless.

“We only gave the twins one practice after basketball season,” said GVSU head coach Doug Woods, in his 21st year at GVSU. “I know they didn’t have a whole lot of time, but they both have such great athletic ability that they’ve made the transition real smoothly.”

After the dramatic come-from-behind victory in game one, the Lakers had no such trouble dispatching Notre Dame (OH) in a 10-0 mercy-ruling in the second game.

Led by Martin’s five RBI, the Lakers took out the Falcons in five innings. Aiding Martin was again Cleary, who added to the GVSU effort by going 3-for-3 with 4 RBI while junior Andrea Nicholson got the win after pitching three scoreless innings.

“I just think these early wins are helping with the team’s cohesion,” Cleary said. “When one person is off, another is on. I think these (wins) are bringing us together.”

While Cleary was not the only Laker producing Saturday, Martin’s efforts both at the plate and on the mound proved vital to the day’s success.

“She’s been playing as the designated player just hitting, and sometimes it’s hard to stay in a game that way,” Woods said. “To have her as a pitcher, too, and hitting at the same time has her into all facets of the game.”

Along with gaining a pair in the win column, GVSU also gained a boost in the confidence department. A team with only four upperclassman, the young Lakers’ commanding victories showed the team’s versatility.

“I think it bodes well to get that confidence before going into your conference season,” Woods said. “The first game today probably helped us out the most because we were down and we had to come back, so I think that is probably a pretty big confidence builder.”

The Lakers will get back into action tomorrow with a doubleheader as the team plays St. Joseph’s College of Indiana in its home opener at 3 p.m.

bfredericksen@lanthorn.com

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