Lakers to lean on middle infielders
The Grand Valley State softball team has not played a game since Mar. 7, but there's plenty of excitement surrounding first-year coach Dana Callihan and the 13-4 Lakers.
A bright spot this season has been the play of GVSU's young middle infield consisting of sophomore second baseman Jenna Lenza and freshman shortstop Teagan Shomin.
Shomin, a former standout at Northview High School in Grand Rapids, is leading the team in home runs with two, total bases with 33 and runs with 19.
“I try to stay loose," Shomin said when asked about the secret to her early success. "It’s just a game -- there is no secret."
Callihan describes Shomin as very intense.
“She’ll give you everything she’s got, she’s not afraid to hit the dirt on a dive or, if I asked her to, she would run through the fence," Callahan said. "Those are the types of things we just know. She is going to give us everything she’s got every time she is out there, and that is what we want and all you can ask for. ”
Callihan said Lenza's presence has made the transition easier for the rookie.
“At practice you could see Jenna take her under her wing knowing that they were going to have to work with each other," Callihan said. "They pair up a lot in practices and kind of play off each other.”
Lenza (Orland Hills, Ill.), who also started as a freshman, is hitting .327 with four doubles, 21 total bases and nine RBIs for the Lakers.
“She’s somewhat hard on herself more so than anybody else, but she wants to win and play well and do whatever she can do for her team," Callahan said. "She is very instinctive. She has a great sense and reads each situation very quickly and responds accordingly without hesitation.
"Running bases, defensively, etc. she may not be the biggest or fastest, but she has great sense of what needs to be done and gets it done.”
Since the Lakers haven’t had a game in over two weeks, Lenza said she has been working on being a more consistent hitter, making sure the team is talking on the field and focusing more on team aspects. When asked about her hot start to the season, Lenza credits a lot of success to Callihan.
“I think one thing Coach Callihan has taught me is to have more of a positive mental attitude especially during hitting," Lenza said. "She talks to me about talking myself up and staying positive and trying not to get down on myself too easily because I do have a tendency to do that."
The Lakers are hoping to compete against Aquinas in their home-opening doubleheader, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. on Thursday.