Softball Splits with WLC, Heads into Crucial DH with Benedictine
Athletics - posted on 4/23/2008
The Lakeland College softball team split its Northern Athletics Conference doubleheader with Wisconsin Lutheran College, winning the first game, 6-4, and dropping the second game, 6-5, on Wednesday, April 23, Milwaukee, Wis.
Although the Muskies (16-14, 15-7 NAC) certainly would have preferred a sweep over the Warriors for reassurance, the single win guarantees Lakeland a spot in next weekend's NAC Tournament with just one regular-season conference doubleheader left vs. Benedictine University on Thursday.
"We did what we needed to do to get into the conference tournament," said Lakeland head coach Chad Buchmann. "We certainly would have liked to finish higher, but this at least gets us in and gives us a chance to win in the tournament."
Sophomore Sara Roberts went the distance in the first game, giving up six hits and fanning five for the win. She was also tagged with the loss in the second game after pitching five innings in relief for sophomore Cassie Felton and freshman Kayla VandeWettering.
Although the score remained close throughout the first game, the Muskies out-scored the Warriors, 3-1, in the final three innings to pull of the victory. Sophomore center fielder Chelsea Coenen got Lakeland's bats going with a double in the fifth inning to kick off the final scoring drive, while a costly error by Lutheran resulted in two runs scored for the inning. Junior Tiffany Gann scored the final run of the game in the seventh inning on a wild pitch to seal the win.
Coenen led the Muskies with a 2-4 effort at the plate in the first game with three runs scored, adding a triple in the first inning. Senior short stop Elisa Waltz also tallied a triple.
In part two of the doubleheader Lakeland found itself in a 5-1 hole after three innings, but fought back with four runs in the fifth inning to tie up the score. Those runs were the result of a unique situation where a single by Waltz with the bases loaded turned into an inside-the-park grand slam on account of two major throwing errors by Lutheran. However, three hits by the Warriors in the seventh inning brought the winning run home, giving Lutheran the game.
Sophomore second baseman KC Blahnik led the offense in the second game with a 2-3 effort at bat with two runs scored, while Coenen, VandeWettering and freshman Sam Shepeck provided some hitting power with a double apiece.
"We jumped on them early in game one, but there were times where we didn't play up to par on defense for all three outs," Buchmann said. "We just haven't been able to put both our offense and our defense together to win both games of tough doubleheaders."
As a result of the split doubleheader, the Muskies share an identical 15-7 NAC record with Wisconsin Lutheran. The Warriors also have yet to face Benedictine, who is currently second in the conference standings, which puts a heightened sense of importance on tomorrow's doubleheader to ensure the Muskies the highest seeding possible heading into the tournament.
"Benedictine is similar to Aurora because there aren't very many holes in their line-up," Buchmann said. "We just need to find a way to put our offense and our defense together for both games."
Game start time vs. Benedictine is set for 3:30 p.m. at Lakeland.
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