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As Lakeland College students clear out their residence hall rooms and we look forward to summer, let's take a look back at Lakeland's spring sports.
The Lakeland College softball team rebounded from a 0-10 start at the Tucson Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., for a 15-26 overall record, including a 15-12 mark in Northern Athletics Conference play.
The Muskies advanced to the NAC Tournament for the fifth straight season. The team posted a 1-2 record in the double elimination tournament with a 17-10 season-ending loss to Concordia, Wis. Lakeland hit five home runs at its tournament stand and earned a 13-3 victory against Dominican University in its opener.
Lakeland suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to No. 1 seed Benedictine University in game three of the tournament. The Muskies took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh on a home run by freshman Chelsea Gile (Grand Junction, Mich.), but committed two errors in the bottom of the seventh to give the Eagles the victory.
The team rallied together for a split with Aurora University on April 23, the first win over Aurora since 2007. The Muskies took game one, 5-4, as freshman pitcher Marissa Roovers (Appleton, Wis.) earned her third win of the season, holding the Spartans scoreless on three hits.
Five players received recognition on the All-NAC team, including first team honoree, junior Leah Sheahan (Salem, Wis.). Freshman Sammy Rieder (St. Cloud, Wis.) garnered All- NAC second team honors and sophomore Heather Haeflinger (Shawano, Wis.) and freshman Samm Janc (Worth, Ill) received honorable mention. Rieder and Janc were also honored on the All-Freshmen team.
Sophomore Jenny LaLuzerne, who led the team in batting average (.404), represented Lakeland on the All-Sportsmanship team.
The young team was second in the NAC in triples (11), third in doubles (80) and fourth in home runs (16).
Head coach Chad Buchmann earned his 200th career win in a game against Concordia University Chicago on April 17.
The Lakeland baseball team wrapped up its 2011 season on a high note with a sweep of Edgewood College. The Muskies finished 16-19, 11-11 in the NAC.
Lakeland got out to a promising start in Fort Myers, Fla., as they went 5-3, losing two games by a one-run margin. The Muskies' pitching was solid, posting three shutouts during their spring break trip. However, the Muskies couldn't keep the momentum rolling when they returned home.
The Muskies would lose seven straight games, and it seemed that the cold air was having an effect. Five early-conference losses hindered Lakeland's chances at postseason play. A few close losses and another five-game losing streak all but finished Lakeland's chances, however, they relished the opportunity to play spoiler.
As the weather heated up, so did the Muskies, who won their final eight conference games, posting four shutouts in that span. In the sweep of Edgewood, seniors Matt Katzman and Mike Ruzek both pitched shutouts to end their careers; Katzman's was his first shutout in his four-year career.
The Muskies have plenty of positives to take from the season, including the fact that of their 11 conference losses, six were by two runs or less.
Seniors Andrew "Woody" Schartner and Ruzek led the Muskies at the plate, each hitting better than .320. Ruzek led the team with a .402 average, collecting 45 hits, scoring 19 runs and recording 24 RBIs. Schartner was second on the team with a .323 average, collecting 42 hits, 10 doubles, two triples and one home run. He scored 29 runs and drove in 15. Schartner also got his name in the Muskie record book, finishing his career fifth in runs scored (103) and tied for fifth in stolen bases (41) and walks (60).
Senior David Novak had a record-breaking season as well, as he finished his career first in doubles (43) and RBIs (110), second in hits (161) and fourth in career batting average (.327). Novak led the 2011 Muskies in RBIs (30) and was second on the team with nine doubles and third in hits (40). Novak was also a weapon behind the plate, throwing out 22 of 63 would-be base stealers and picking off four runners.
On the mound, freshman Andrew Mueller had a solid season, finishing 3-1 with a 3.63 era in 52 innings. Opponents hit .290 against the freshman, who looks to be a promising player next season.
Ruzek had a nice year as well, finishing 2-3 with a 4.15 era in 56.1 innings. He struck out a team-high 51 batters, tying him for fourth in career strikeouts with 144. He held opponents to a team low .279 average. Katzman finished 3-3 with a 4.47 era in 54.1 innings. He recorded 31 strikeouts against 16 walks.
The Muskies hope to build on their momentum to put together a strong 2012 campaign. A young core and talented recruits have the coaching staff excited for what's to come next season.
The Lakeland men's tennis team struggled this season as last year's graduation left a young and inexperienced team.
The Muskies posted a 2-9 overall record, including a 2-7 mark in NAC play. Lakeland earned victories against Wisconsin Lutheran College on April 19, and Marian University on April 29.
Senior Tom Kuehl (Hustisford, Wis.) and junior Yu Sasaki (Saitauna, Japan) claimed Lakeland's only victory in the conference tournament on May 7-8 at the Kohler Sports Core. Kuehl and Sasaki defeated Andrews Bales and Chris Wilwers of Marian University in round one of the doubles competition, 8-1. They suffered an 8-3 loss against Nathan Wingfield and Thien Van of Concordia Chicago.