GVSU goes 9-3 in Florida on spring break trip
The Grand Valley State softball team showed some serious potential at the NTC Spring Games in Clermont, Fla.
GVSU opened the 12-game trip in style, winning its first seven games by a combined score of 44-14. The Lakers cooled down from there, going 2-3 in their next five, but the team still returns home with a 13-4 record on the year. First-year GVSU coach Dana Callihan likes what she sees 17 games in.
“Our players have been disciplined,” Callihan said. “Our pitchers have been phenomenal, our bats always seem to come around and defense has been good.”
The Lakers began the trip with a pair of 2-1 victories over Mary on Sunday. Sara Andrasik and Courtney Reinhold both threw complete games and allowed just two runs on 14 hits combined.
On Monday, GVSU's offense put up 22 runs and 23 hits to beat Cedarville, 11-5, and Notre Dame College, 11-1. The Lakers plated 17 of those 22 runs in the first or second innings.
The wins kept coming on Tuesday, as the Lakers rallied to beat Assumption in a 6-5 win before shutting out Post in a 6-0 triumph.
In the first game of the day, Assumption jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Lakers answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Assumption then scored a run in the third inning, but again GVSU answered quickly and scored two more runs to take a 6-5 lead they would not relinquish. Reinhold threw the team's first shutout of the season in the nightcap against Post, giving up five hits and forcing 10 ground-ball outs.
The Lakers had their only day off on the trip on Wednesday, but improved to 10-1 and won their ninth straight game with a 6-1 victory over Saint Rose on Thursday. Impressive pitching from sophomore Ellie Balbach and a pair of home runs were the difference.
GVSU then suffered its first loss of the trip in a 6-3 loss to Southern New Hampshire later that afternoon. Reinhold allowed six runs (only two earned runs) on seven hits in the loss.
“It was hard, but you can’t win them all,” Reinhold said.
The freshman is 5-1 on the year with a team-best 1.07 ERA, and already has five complete games under her belt. She said she attributes her early success on the mound to assistant coach Jen Mackson and fellow pitchers Andrasik, Balbach and senior Sarah Wyse.
“They’ve all been really helpful,” Reinhold said.
On Friday night, the Lakers earned a 9-5 victory over St. Cloud State before falling to Quincy 6-2 in the second game.
The top of the lineup for GVSU was impressive against St. Cloud State. Freshman Teagen Shomin and sophomores Kelsey Dominguez and Jenna Lenza all had two hits, scored at least two runs apiece and combined to go 6-for-11 with seven runs scored.
In game two, Quincy took an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer in the first inning. GVSU tied the game when Heather Sperlazzo ran home after a passed ball in the second inning. The Lakers moved ahead in the fourth by scoring a run on a Quincy error and took a 2-1 lead, but the Hawks then rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth inning and walked away with the 6-2 win.
GVSU closed out the 12-game trip on Saturday by defeating Truman State in extra innings before falling to Indianapolis by a score of 8-2.
In the ninth inning against Truman State, Marianne Deppe was placed on second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Shomin then came to the plate and hit a clutch RBI double, scoring Deppe and giving the Lakers a 4-3 lead. Two batters later, Lenza singled to bring Shomin home and give the Lakers a 5-3 lead, which was all they needed.
The final game of the trip was a rematch of the 2013 Midwest Super Regional series, where No. 9 GVSU won the best-of-three series at No. 1 Indianapolis to advance to the College World Series. UIndy scored four runs in the first inning on and emerged victorious this time, however.
A number of GVSU players are off to strong starts in the batter's box. Seven players are hitting .300 or better, and four players have 10 or more RBI on the year. Dominguez leads the team with 13 ribbies, and is tied with Shomin with a team-high 21 hits through 17 games.
“It’s been really good and fun to be on a team that is so close,” Dominguez said. “We just make sure we are playing our game, control everything we can control.”
The Lakers are off until their home opener against Aquinas on March 17, weather pending.