GVSU softball extends winning streak to nine games

GVL / Luke Holmes - Allison Lipovsky (18) throws the pitch. Grand Valley Womens Softball won 9-5 in their first game against Lake Superior State on Monday, April 18, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes – Allison Lipovsky (18) throws the pitch. Grand Valley Women’s Softball won 9-5 in their first game against Lake Superior State on Monday, April 18, 2016.

Beau Troutman

Don’t look now, but the Grand Valley State softball team is streaking.

And they’re not stopping for anyone.

The Lakers took on the Northwood Timberwolves for a doubleheader on the road Friday, April 14. The Lakers won the first game 3-0 thanks to a dominant performance on the mound from sophomore ace Allison Lipovsky. The Lakers took game two easily in an all-around, 7-2 victory.

GVSU was originally scheduled to play a doubleheader at Saginaw Valley State Saturday, April 15, but the games were cancelled due to the fear of inclement weather. The Lakers will instead play the Cardinals Sunday, April 30.

The Lakers, who started the year 12-15, now sit at 21-15 (9-5 GLIAC) and fifth in the conference. They say the key to the nine-game winning streak, that started Sunday, April 2, has been consistency.

“They know what it takes every single game, every single inning, every single pitch,” said GVSU coach Dana Callihan. “That’s the one thing we talk about: just taking every pitch one at a time and doing what we have to do on that particular pitch, and work on the process as opposed to the result.”

GVSU got yet another stellar performance from Lipovsky in the 3-0 game one win. She struck out 15 batters over seven innings—12 of which were on swinging strikes—for the most by a GVSU pitcher since Jen Mackson fanned 18 batters March 4, 2004 (she is now assistant coach Jen Rivera).

Lipovsky thinks she can break her coach’s record one day.

“I’m hoping to hit 18 someday,” Lipovsky said. “By me doing my job and doing what I do best, throwing the pitches I know how to throw, I think that someday there is a chance to get Jen’s 18 strikeouts.”

In addition, she allowed only three hits and two walks. Lipovsky, the back-to-back GLIAC Pitcher of the Week, made a strong case for a third straight honor this week. She is now 9-3 on the season with a 1.32 ERA, 12 complete games and six shutouts.

The Lakers got their three runs off of RBIs from senior Jenna Lenza, freshman Kelcie LaTour and senior Kelsey Dominguez.

Lipovsky said the reason for the recent success has been GVSU’s ability to hone in on the little things.

“Softball is a game of inches,” she said. “At the beginning of the season, the game of inches wasn’t on our side. Right now, the little things are falling for us. That’s a big factor of us playing really well. Our hitting is there, our defense is there. Overall, I think we’re excited to see the outcome of the season.”

The Lakers had little trouble in game two. LaTour led the way, batting 1-for-4 with four RBIs thanks in part to a three-run double with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The true freshman now leads the Lakers with 27 RBIs on the season.

Junior Tanner Kiessel was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. Dominguez went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Lenza went 2-for-2 with two walks and two doubles.

Lenza now has 19 doubles this season, tied for second-most for a single season in GVSU history, behind only Katie Martin, who had 22 in 2013. That is also GLIAC record for doubles for a season. Lenza is batting a team-high .474 this season.

Junior pitcher Courtney Reinhold started the game, but was relieved in the third after giving up an earned run. Junior Allie Grys (4-1) got the win, allowing just one run over five innings with five walks and two strikeouts.

Up next, the Lakers will take on nonconference opponent Aquinas at home Tuesday, April 18, for a doubleheader starting at 3:30 p.m.

The Lakers are confident they can keep their torrid pace up for the rest of the season.

“The experience level we have is a part of it, the hunger we have is a part of it and the start we had is a part of it,” Callihan said. “They’re hungry. They want to do well, and they know what it takes now.”