GLIAC’s new home run queen

Pete Barrows

Grand Valley State University senior Katie Martin had made the trip home before, 46 times in fact, and knows the address by heart. Sitting on the stoop of history, Martin decided to break the door down with one sturdy chop of her bat. She didn’t knock or even wait for the doorbell—she didn’t have to. There was no need to prolong the inevitable any further.

“I knew she was coming outside,” Martin said.

Just one pitch after junior Briauna Taylor launched a two-run round tripper, Martin followed suit with a shot that won’t soon be forgotten by any remaining in the crowd assembled at GVSU’s facilities. With one swell-swoop, Martin took full command of the GLIAC career home run record (47) and toppled GVSU’s career hit (259) and run (164) records simultaneously. If the hat trick swing weren’t enough on it’s own, Martin is also GVSU’s career leader in batting average, doubles and total bases. It might have been easier if history had just left out a welcome mat.

“That ball was tattooed,” said GVSU head coach Doug Woods. “That was not a cheap home run, that was out there and it’s great to break the home run record and all that with a hit like that.”

Game two of GVSU’s doubleheader against Northwood University concluded in a 9-5 defeat, the Lakers first loss in 14 games. If a loss was ever dowsed in whipped cream with a fresh cherry on top, Martin’s historic home run that came in the games final inning was it.

“It’s kind of an awkward feeling right now because it’s never good to loose, but I accomplished a lot with that hit – it’s a weird feeling,” Martin said.

Three pitchers­—freshman Sara Andrasik, sophomore Sarah Wyse and junior Kayla Hurd—all saw action in game two. GVSU hasn’t had to worry much about run support for most of the year, but with three runs allowed in the third and two runs allowed in innings four through six, it wasn’t the Laker pitching staff’s banner outing.

“The whole bottom line is too many walks in that game,” Woods said. “With eight walks you just have trouble beating anybody.”

After battling to a 4-2 victory in game one, there were plenty of other positives to take away. Briauna Taylor, who had three hits and two RBI to accompany her home run, reestablished her power presence at the plate. Freshman Chelsea Horvath, who was the beneficiary of two manufactured runs on the day as a pinch runner, also impressed as the Lakers continued to showcase their attention to detail and small ball capabilities.

“We’re hitting the ball good,” Martin said. “Yeah, we didn’t necessarily get the hits, but we’re hitting the ball out there and that’s all you can do. They’re go to make outs and just so happens we hit right to them today – it happens. We’re ready to go (for Saturday), I’m sure. Pretty sure everyone has a little fire in their belly now from that game, so we’ll come out strong.”

Senior centerfielder Nellie Kosola dinged a two-run triple standing up in the bottom of the fourth of game one, her second triple of 2013, and now only one away from tying the GVSU career mark (11) held by Julie Martin, is flirting with history herself. Kosola’s nine putouts on the day, several of which were made at the fence and out of her territory, also highlighted her day.

“She (Kosola) did awesome today,” Martin said. “Diving, catching balls that are right and left, sometimes even in leftfield.”

Despite GVSU’s 21-3 overall record (9-1 in the GLIAC), there is plenty to continue to improve as the season builds. For Saturday’s doubleheader against Ferris State University, improved defense figures to be an item on the top of the list.

“That’s softball sometimes,” Woods said. “Some days you get it, sometimes you don’t. We were good, Hannah pitched well and we got enough offense for her. We did not field well in the first game and that gave them a couple chances that we shouldn’t have. We’re going to have to clean that up before Saturday. I’m pretty content, just not happy with the defense in a couple of situations today. Last week in six games, I think we had one error and that’s remarkable. You know that can’t continue the whole time, but you like it to.”

The games are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. as the Lakers unveil their fresh white Diamond Queen Henley jersey and pants from Adidas and gray Adidas Excelsior Pro TPU Low cleats. Pizza Hut Pizza and Monster Energy drinks will be provided for all GVSU fans inclined to attend ‘A Back to the Future’ titled tailgate at 12:30 p.m. The Lakers don’t intend to deviate from their winning ways anytime soon, but with falling records and new digs, embracing the times is just a part of GVSU’s program.

“It’s a nice promotion, hopefully the weather cooperates and hopefully we play well,” Woods said.
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