Senior send-off

GVL / Robert Mathews
GVSU vs. Ashland

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews GVSU vs. Ashland

Jon Van Zytveld

Home-field send-offs are always difficult, but the Lakers managed to take it in stride and go out on a high note.

Over the weekend, the Grand Valley State University softball team hosted three conference opponents, taking five of the six GLIAC games.

“It was a good weekend, there was a lot going on,” said GVSU coach Doug Woods. “We hit pretty well today. There are always a few things we can work on in regards to fielding, but I was very satisfied. Along with Ohio Dominican, we were essentially tied with Ashland for the first place in the conference, so it was great to get those wins.”

On Friday, the Lakers (36-10) won both games against Ohio Dominican University, 4-2 and 4-3, respectively. The Lakers established early leads in both games and held on to their advantage until the end.

The first victory was a career milestone for coach Woods, who earned his 800th victory, a landmark that was 22 years in the making.

“The wins are more the players then they are the coach,” Woods said. “However, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a big deal. Not too many coaches have got that number.”

On Saturday, the Lakers split the doubleheader against Ashland University, the GLIAC South Division leader. As the GLIAC leaders overall, as well as for the North Division, the Lakers prepared themselves for two of their most difficult games of the season. Ashland led from the first inning and kept up their strong offense in order to defeat the Lakers, 6-1. The Lakers regrouped in game two, and Katie Martin’s home run in the ninth inning broke the score-less tie, giving GVSU the 1-0.

Senior pitcher Andrea Nicholson was injured in game one after being struck in the face by a line drive and was taken to the hospital. While her condition is stable and expected to improve, she is out for the season, which will conclude her career as a Laker.

“I hope I can do Andrea justice on the mound,” said Kayla Hurd, who, along with junior Hannah Santora, replaced Nicholson for the rest of the weekend’s games. “We just want to make her proud. It was my first conference start, but I was ready. They got to me in the last inning, but it was definitely a great weekend overall.”

Sunday brought two more victories for the Lakers, this time against Lake Erie College. The Lakers won a shutout mercy win in the first, 9-0, and then returned for a 13-3 win in the second game.

“We really came together as a team this weekend,” said Maggie Kopas, who had a three-run home run for the Lakers on Sunday. “It felt great to do well today and get that home run. We’ll return to practice and work hard like we always do before our next games.”

With their home games behind them for the season, the Lakers will return to the road on Wednesday for another double-header against Hillsdale University. Despite splitting a double-header with Hillsdale earlier in the year, the Lakers believe that they are prepared to play well and earn several more victories before the end of the season.

“We just have to keep playing strong,” Hurd said. “We’re doing well with hitting, as you can see from the number of runs we’ve been making. I’d say that we are definitely ready for Hillsdale.”

[email protected]