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The Lakeland College softball team improved to 3-1 in the Northern Athletics Conference with a pair of wins over Dominican University, 5-1 and 9-4, on Saturday, April 5, in River Forest, Ill.
Sophomore Sara Roberts picked up the wins for the Muskies (4-8 overall) in both games, pitching nearly 14 innings. Freshman Kayla VandeWettering came in to relieve her for four batters in the fifth, but Roberts would return to finish the game. In the first game, Roberts allowed just five hits and racked up an impressive 10 strikeouts, then added two more strikeouts and allowed seven hits in game two.
"Sara pitched really well today." said Lakeland head coach Chad Buchmann. "I think we only had one inning where they had the bases loaded."
Lakeland's bats got off to somewhat of a slow start in game one, as the score was deadlocked in a 1-1 tie until the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore centerfielder Chelsea Coenen finally got the offense going with a triple, followed by singles by VandeWettering, senior designated hitter Pam Valukas and sophomore catcher Kristine Raeder to tally four runs for the inning. Coenen led the way at the plate with a 3-for-5 performance.
The Muskies continued their batting success into game two, starting out with three quick runs in the first inning including a 2 RBI home run by senior third baseman Kourtney Peters. Lakeland never trailed in the game, although the Stars got within four after scoring three runs in the fifth inning. Peters and freshman Sam Shepeck led the team with three hits apiece followed by sophomore second baseman KC Blahnik and senior shortstop Elisa Waltz with two hits each, including a triple from Blahnik.
"I thought we did an outstanding job today," Buchmann said. "Just about everyone had a hit in the first game, and I thought we improved on our base running. We were also able to turn some double plays and hit pretty sharp, which kept them under wraps."
The Muskies will continue NAC play with another doubleheader on the road against Concordia University Chicago on Sunday, April 6.
"Traditionally, we do pretty well in this stretch of our schedule," Buchmann said. "We should do well, but this conference is becoming more and more competitive so we have to come out ready to play."
Start time of game one against Concordia is set for 12 p.m. in River Forest, Ill.