GVSU softball sweeps doubleheader with St. Joseph’s, extends win streak to seven

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Kelsey Dominguez (2) crushes the ball and sends it flying into the outfield. Grand Valley takes the victory over Walsh in both games held in Allendale on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Kelsey Dominguez (2) crushes the ball and sends it flying into the outfield. Grand Valley takes the victory over Walsh in both games held in Allendale on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

Beau Troutman

The Grand Valley State softball team won three games and lost nine on its spring break trip last month.

One month later, the Lakers are riding a seven game win streak and are tied for third place in the conference.

“We really realized the time is now,” said junior Mary Deppe. “We didn’t have any more time to wait to get things done. We had to do it now. Once we kind of got in the swing of things, then it just came a little bit easier. Everyone started to get more confident and that always helps.”

GVSU hit the road Tuesday, April 11, for a doubleheader with Midwest Region opponent the St. Joseph’s College Pumas in Rensselaer, Indiana. The Lakers won game one 7-1 behind a strong pitching performance from GLIAC Pitcher of the Week Allison Lipovsky, and then ended the day with a 2-0 win in game two.

In addition to having won seven games in a row, the Lakers have won 10 out of their last 12. Before the streak, the Lakers had been losing games by margins of one and two runs, and had trouble making outcome-changing plays.

Now, the Lakers are starting to get those types of plays.

“We were kind of struggling with the pressure situations, getting the job done when we needed to get it done,” said senior Kelsey Dominguez. “But we definitely did better with that (Tuesday) and we have been for the past seven games and that’s why we’re getting on the winning end of it.”

The Lakers (19-15, 7-5 GLIAC) are tied for third place in the conference with Wayne State, Ashland, Ohio Dominican and Findlay.

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Lakers got yet another strong performance out of their sophomore ace Lipovsky, who recorded her 11th complete game of the year. She struck out 13 batters, allowed only three hits, three walks and one earned run.

The win comes after Lipovsky was named conference Pitcher of the Week for games played this past weekend, in which she pitched 15 innings over two games, allowing just seven hits and striking out 18 batters. She is now 8-3 on the year with a 1.41 ERA.

Lipovsky had run support as well in the 7-1 win. Junior shortstop Teagan Shomin led the way, batting 2-for-4 off of two doubles with two RBIs. Dominguez and sophomore Shannon Flaherty each added an RBI as well.

All nine players in the Lakers’ lineup recorded at least one hit.

“It’s nice we’re starting to get some production out of the lineup a little bit,” said GVSU coach Dana Callihan. “They’re starting to feed off each other a little bit. Hitting is contagious. You get a string going and the next hitter wants to get one, and then the next hitter wants to get one.”

Game two of the doubleheader saw junior pitchers Courtney Reinhold and Allie Grys combine for a shutout in the 2-0 win. Reinhold pitched the first four innings, allowing five hits and forcing several batters to ground out or fly out.

Reinhold got out of several pressure situations. The Pumas loaded the bases with one out in the second inning, had a leadoff triple in the third and had runners on the corners in the fourth. Reinhold was able to evade trouble in each of those situations.

In the fourth inning, the Lakers got an RBI single from junior catcher Jessica Ramos and Dominguez recorded an RBI on a sacrifice fly to give GVSU its two runs and Reinhold (5-4) the win.

Grys came in for relief in the fifth inning. She notched four strikeouts and allowed no hits to record her first career save with the Lakers.

Grys got the save while still recovering from a bout with pneumonia.

“The whole pitching staff is incredible,” Grys said. “We’re up in the air with so many different pitchers. One gets sick, one gets injured, another gets hurt, but when we come together all at once, it’s awesome.”

Senior Jenna Lenza was the only GVSU batter with more than one hit. She went 2-for-3 with one double, her 17th of the year. She is now five doubles away from tying the GLIAC season record (22).

The Lakers will go on another road trip this weekend for the last time in the regular season. GVSU plays Northwood in a doubleheader Friday, April 14, and then the SVSU Cardinals Saturday, April 15, for another doubleheader. SVSU (24-9, 9-3) is the top-ranked team in the conference.

The Lakers are confident they can find success on the road again this weekend.

“We were just talking about how we’ve got to go out there with intensity and work together with a team mindset,” Grys said. “We have to do what we do every game: go out there with confidence and know we’re going to dominate.”