GVSU goes 4-1 in Lewis Dome Tournament
Lakers come out swinging, outscore first five foes 34-9
With effective pitching and a high-powered offense, the Grand Valley State softball team notched victories in four of its first five games of the season at the Lewis Dome Tournament in Rosemont, Ill.
In game one on Friday, GVSU took on Wisconsin-Parkside and was able to mercy the Rangers in the fifth inning. The Lakers started out trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but were up 7-2 by the fourth and ended the game by a mercy rule after scoring three more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The final score was 10-2. GVSU had a total of 12 hits in the season opener. Sophomore Ellie Balbach threw a complete game and struck out six, giving up just two runs on seven hits and only three walks.
“We came out our first game ready to play, offense and defense,” Balbach said. “We’re a pretty young team and to come out and play as well as we did this weekend is a great sign for the rest of the season.”
GVSU also took on Illinois Springfield on Friday. The Lakers recorded nine hits in the game on their way to 5-2 win. The 2013 GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Sara Andrasik, was the starting pitcher and allowed just three base hits while walking four and recording six strikeouts.
Andrasik was even better on Saturday in what proved to be the team's only loss of the weekend, a 1-0 defeat against No. 5 Missouri-St. Louis. Andrasik threw a complete game, yielding just three hits (all singles) and one walk while striking out five.
The offense came roaring back for GVSU in the nightcap, as the Lakers notched an 8-1 win against Upper Iowa before earning an 11-3 triumph over Kentucky Wesleyan on Sunday. Freshman Courtney Reinhold and Balbach picked up the victories for GVSU, respectively.
Coach Dana Callihan, only the second full-time softball head coach in school history, said the 4-1 weekend was a good start.
“The competition was very good and it was nice to actually play games over practice," Callihan said. "Being so young, it was nice to see us respond in a positive way.”
Callihan said the weekend was a total team effort and, although the Lakers have so many underclassmen playing this year, that everyone contributed and did what they were asked to do.
“We have a tremendous amount of potential,” she said. “We need to keep trusting our practices and the daily process. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves too quickly. We have a lot of season left.”
One player who showcased her potential was Teagan Shomin, a freshman from Northview High School in Grand Rapids, Mich. Shomin began her college career against UWP as the starting shortstop, and turned in an impressive performance at the plate going 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs.
“It’s very surreal,” she said. “I consider myself extremely blessed to be given the opportunity to be a part of such a great program with such an accomplished history and an even more promising future. It’s a dream come true to be able to play for this team and with all of the amazing people on it.
“We have proven that we can compete with anyone and are not to be taken lightly. We are competitive on both sides of the ball, offense and defense. Good things can happen for us this season, it’s just a matter of going out and taking it when it’s there.”
The Lakers will be off until March 1, when they open up a 12-game stretch of games over spring break in Clermont, Fla. The team's first home game of the season is scheduled to take place March 17 against Aquinas at the GVSU Softball Field, pending weather.