Lakers go 2-2 at Lewis Dome Tournament
Cleary hits home run, grand slam in pair of victories
Shortstop Briauna Taylor fires to first to complete the double play, ending an early rally for SVSU. GVL / Bo Anderson
The Grand Valley State University softball team was back to work on Saturday and Sunday for its first set of games since its second-ever trip to the NCAA Division II College World Series less than eight months ago.
GVSU, which was tabbed as the third-ranked team in the nation by the NFCA, began its 2014 campaign indoors with an up-and-down four-game stretch at the Lewis Dome Tournament in Rosemont, Ill.
“Overall we played well, especially for it being the first weekend of the season,” assistant coach Dana Callihan said. “We have a pretty young group this year. It’s going to take a couple of weekends playing together to get a feel for each other to know our strengths and weaknesses.”
The Lakers dropped a 6-5 decision in their season opener against Winona State University. Junior pitcher Lauren Gevaart was charged with the loss.
GVSU freshman second baseman Jenna Lenza had quite the debut in the loss by notching a solo home run in her first career at-bat on her way to a 4-for-4 day, but WSU still prevailed when it was all said and done.
“We just didn’t get some key hits when we really needed them,” Callihan said. “There’s always going to be room for improvement after the first weekend of the season. We’re excited to get down to Florida and work some of those things out.”
The Lakers picked things up in their second game of the night with a 2-1 victory against Lewis University.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Andrasik, who posted a 20-4 record as a freshman, pitched a complete game for her first win of the season as the Lakers took down Lewis 2-1.
“It felt great to get back out there and get a number of pitches under my belt,” Andrasik said. “After going through countless practices leading up to this point, I felt like I was more than ready to get back to pitching in real-game situations again.”
Senior third baseman Miranda Cleary’s go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh inning ultimately pushed the Lakers ahead.
The following day yielded the same results for the team.
The Lakers also dropped their first matchup on Sunday 4-2 in a close one to Upper Iowa University.
“This weekend was definitely a learning experience for the entire team,” Andrasik said. “We just need to focus on the fundamentals. Once we get that down and somewhat have a feel for how we play with each other, then I think you are going to see great things from us as a team.”
GVSU rebounded by dismantling the University of Wisconsin-Parkside 9-0 in just five innings of work. Cleary carried her momentum over from Saturday’s game-winning performance by recording a grand slam to eventually push the Lakers back to .500 on the season.
“I go to the plate with the mentality that I don’t want to strike out,” she said. “I felt like I made pretty good contact with the ball in several at-bats this past weekend. I was fortunate enough to get ahold of one, which was big for our team in that point in time.”
The Lakers now have a week off before they travel to Florida for a full week of games.