GVSU braves cold, sweeps Northwood
Shomin records four walks in one game as GV wins two
GVL / Luke Holmes - Courtney Reinhard (7) winds up to throw the pitch. Grand Valley State University defeated Northwood University in both games at the Grand Valley softball field Thursday, Apr. 7, 2016.
Snow flurries danced in the whistling wind, shortstop Teagan Shomin danced in the on-deck circle trying to stay warm and those that stayed until the end danced when it was finally over.
The scorching hot bats of the Grand Valley State softball team couldn’t be cooled off by numb thumbs nor Northwood (12-14, 3-7 GLIAC) on April 7 as the Lakers (22-6, 7-3 GLIAC) scored 19 runs on 24 hits to sweep their second consecutive conference doubleheader and remain unbeaten at home.
While the frigid temperatures couldn’t influence the 12-6 and 7-2 final scores, the harsh elements did play a factor in unifying everyone together. The logos embroidered on the jerseys didn’t matter.
“It was kind of funny, both teams really kind of bonded over the weather,” Shomin said. “I’m really proud of us. We were really resilient in terms of the cold and (beating) a team like Northwood that likes to battle back and stick around like they did.”
It was apparent Northwood was going to put up a fight early on, as the lead changed four times in the first three innings of game one.
GVSU struck in the bottom of the first on a McKenze Supernaw RBI double. Both teams then scored a pair of runs in the second inning, and the Timberwolves grabbed a 4-3 lead with two more runs in the top of the third.
Laker starting pitcher Courtney Reinhold was taken out after 2.1 innings, giving up four runs on 56 pitches. Reinhold was escorted out of the GVSU dugout by the athletic trainers as senior Sara Andrasik stepped into the circle.
“She’s fine,” said GVSU head coach Dana Callihan. “The cold got to her a little bit, but they dealt with it and she is good to go.”
Andrasik dealt with the rest of the Timberwolves. She threw 117 pitches in the remaining 4.2 innings, allowed four hits and two runs (one earned).
Freshman Shannon Flaherty’s team-leading fourth triple knotted the score at 4-4 in the fourth.
“It’s exciting. I didn’t realize I was the only one leading the team in triples,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty crossed home plate on Jenna Lenza’s sacrifice fly to center to give the Lakers the lead once again, 5-4.
Shomin forcefully increased the advantage to 7-4 in the next inning as she took a 1-0 pitch deep to right field and over the fence. Finding that power on such cold day came as a surprise even to her.
“Sometimes you just hit (the ball) in the right spot and it goes. You don’t question it,” she said. “Maybe I just wanted to get back in the dugout and didn’t want to stay out and run bases.”
Northwood answered with another two-run inning in the top of the sixth, but GVSU decisively blew the game open by scoring five runs in the bottom half. Juniors Kelsey Dominguez and Janae Langs, alongside Shomin and Flaherty, picked up RBIs in the outburst.
The high-scoring affair came to an end after two hours and nine minutes (fourth-longest GVSU game this season) and easily could have gone on even longer, considering both teams stranded nine runners on base.
As a result of the lengthy first game, the nightcap didn’t start until well after 6 p.m., and the race was on to finish the rematch before darkness engulfed the diamond. More full counts and foul balls, however, led to more drawn-out innings and the game had to be called off after six frames.
“That’s up to the umpire’s discretion,” Callihan said. “He ended it when he felt the conditions were getting to the point where it was unsafe. That’s his decision. Coaches have no say in that.”
Freshman starting pitcher Allison Lipovsky went all six innings and threw 135 pitches to notch her seventh win of the season (7-0). Lipovsky allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) to improve her ERA to 1.09 – fourth-best in the conference.
Meanwhile, GVSU improved its record to 16-1 when scoring in the first inning. Junior Ellie Balbach used an RBI groundout to put the Lakers in familiar territory after the opening frame.
Langs, showing off her arm in center field, gunned down a Timberwolves’ runner at the plate to keep the score untouched at 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning.
Seemingly, that was enough to reignite the offense. GVSU knocked in a pair of runs in each of the final three innings to finish off the game strong and capture its fourth straight victory, 7-2.
Five Lakers had a multi-hit game and, in total, the team collected 12 hits in consecutive games. Yet, it was the player who didn’t register an at-bat who made some history.
Shomin joined Kim Biskup as only the second Laker since 2000 to draw four walks in a game.
“In every at-bat it’s just my goal to get on base,” Shomin said. “I don’t care how it happens. Sometimes it’s a walk, and I’ll take it. I liked my second game just as much as I liked my first game.”
GVSU was scheduled to play two more conference doubleheaders against Findlay on April 9 and Hillsdale on April 10, but both were postponed due to snowfall. The cancellations are somewhat disappointing in light of how well the Lakers have been playing, Callihan said.
“That’s one of the disadvantages to the weather. You start getting some momentum, you want to keep playing and keep that confidence level up. But, unfortunately, with 33 degrees and snow in the forecast, it’s not ideal.”
The Lakers travel to Saginaw Valley State (20-8, 6-4 GLIAC) next for a twinbill on April 13 starting at 3:30 p.m.