Lakeland Hands Aurora First NAC Loss of Season
Athletics - posted on 4/29/2007
The Lakeland College softball team became the only Northern Athletics Conference team to take a game from Aurora University this season, defeating the Spartans, 6-5, in game two of their final regular-season doubleheader on Sunday after dropping the first, 11-0, on their home field.
Although the Muskies (26-10, 18-4 NAC) were defeated in the first game in five innings, with junior Jenny Zimmerman taking the loss on the mound in three innings of work, the home squad was able to regroup and make a comeback in game two to hand Aurora its first 2007 NAC loss.
"After the first game, we knew we needed to come back strong because we wanted to take one today no matter what," said freshman pitcher Sara Roberts, who picked up the win in game two with four strikeouts. "It's pretty awesome to get a win from them, and we all did it together as a team. We were down in the beginning, but then we were able to get some hits and get back in it."
The Spartans looked to continue dominance early in the second game, going up 2-0 in the first inning, but the Muskies finally got on the board and took the lead in the fourth inning with three runs. Junior third baseman Kourtney Peters got the scoring started with an RBI single to score freshman second baseman KC Blahnik, followed by RBI singles by junior first baseman Allison Lock and junior Pam Valukas.
Aurora would answer with three runs of their own in the fifth inning to go up 5-3, but the Muskies countered with another three runs at the top of the sixth to cap off the scoring for the game and seal the win. After freshman center fielder Chelsea Coenen reached on a walk, Lock stepped up to hit a two-RBI home run to regain the advantage for the Muskies. Junior Jenny Zimmerman went on to score the third run of the inning on a wild pitch.
"In the second game, we had a bunch of people contributing to the win," said head coach Chad Buchmann. "Sara did her job keeping the ball over the plate, Allison Lock hit that clutch home run, Katie Yeager did some clutch hitting as well and Pam also had an awesome hit. We were able to come through this time with runners on base. In that first game, things just didn't go our way. We were able to get people on base, but couldn't find a way to get them home."
Valukas led the offensive drive for the Muskies in game two, tallying two hits and one RBI, while Lock had three RBIs and two runs.
"Aurora is pretty much a complete team in the sense that they are very consistent," Buchmann said. "Their coach does a great job of keeping them very disciplined. Our goal today was to take at least one from them, so it's a huge confidence boost to do that heading into the conference tournament."
Lakeland may very well meet up with the Spartans again in next weekend's NAC Tournament, as the team kicks off play on Friday, May 4. But first, the No. 2 seeded Muskies, will likely face either No. 3 Marian or No. 6 Concordia, Wis., depending on final seedings and on who wins that match-up on Thursday. Game time is set for 11 a.m. and will be hosted by Aurora University in Aurora, Ill.
"If we see Aurora again it might be a bit tougher," Roberts said. "But we were able to pull it off today, so hopefully we'll be able to do it again."
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