GVSU offense stalls in tournament play
Laker softball drops back-to-back games to close season
The Grand Valley State softball team saw its season come to a disappointing end in the 2015 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament as the Lakers fell to No. 17 Southern Indiana 4-2 in the opening game, before dropping their second contest to GLIAC rival Wayne State 3-0.
“We battled very well this weekend, we just didn’t take care of the opportunities that we had to score runs,” said head coach Dana Callihan. “We gave it a great effort but unfortunately we came up just short.”
In game one, the Lakers fell behind early in the second inning as SIU plated a run, cashing in on a leadoff double by senior Brooke Harmening.
The Lakers answered in the bottom half of the inning as freshman Teagan Shomin hammered a pitch over the left center field wall to tie the score at one. Four batters later, freshman Heather Sperlazzo drew a bases loaded walk to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead.
SIU tied the game in the top of the third inning on a Laker throwing error.
After that, pitching took over. Freshman Courtney Reinhold went on a tear, retiring eight consecutive batters including 1-2-3 fourth and fifth innings.
The score remained tied until the seventh inning. The Laker pitching staff walked the bases loaded, and a timely two-run Screaming Eagle single down the line gave SIU a 4-2 lead, which would hold through the last out.
“We did great even though we didn’t get the results that we wanted as a team,” Sperlazzo said. “We didn’t give up and kept fighting, and that is all we can ask for.”
In game two against WSU, the Lakers ran into back-to-back GLIAC Pitcher of the Year Lyndsay Butler. Butler dominated in the circle for the Warriors, baffling GVSU hitters from start to finish.
The Warriors knocked in two runs in the top of the first to jump out to an early lead. Butler led off the game with an infield single, later coming around to score on a sacrifice fly. Junior Jade McGarr roped an RBI double to drive in the second run.
WSU added another run in the fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead.
The Lakers had their best scoring chance in the sixth inning as they loaded the bases with one out, but Butler reached into her bag of tricks to work out of the jam and keep the score at 3-0.
Sperlazzo tallied two of GVSU’s three hits, while sophomore Janae Langs picked up the third.
“This was a great overall team effort,” Langs said. “A weekend like this is very encouraging to our team and gives our team a lot of momentum heading into next year. We were very successful, showed maturity and showed other teams what we are capable of as a team. We got a taste of success and that should help us out moving toward next year.”
“We had a very young team this year," Callihan said. "It was a very good learning year for us, we learned a lot and got good quality experience moving forward. It gives us tremendous momentum for next year. We got a taste of what it is like because we saw good quality teams and the younger players got a feel for what it’s like to play in big games."
GVSU will look to build off of that momentum going forward toward next season as it will return 18 of 19 players from this year’s team.