GVSU softball win streak ends at 20 games in GLIAC Championship Tournament

GVL / Kevin Sielaff –  Kelsey Dominguez (2) takes a swing and makes solid contact with the ball. 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) takes a swing and makes solid contact with the ball. Grand Valley takes the victory over Walsh in both games held in Allendale on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

Beau Troutman

In the words of LeBron James, it was not one, two or even three.

Try 20.

That’s how many wins the Grand Valley State softball team was able to stack up from a span that started Sunday, April 2, and ended Saturday, May 7.

The No. 1-seeded Lakers (32-16, 17-5 GLIAC) defeated the No. 8 Findlay Oilers 7-4 in the first round of the GLIAC Championship Tournament Friday, May 5, for their 20th win. The next day, the Lakers were upset by the No. 5-seeded Ashland Eagles in the second round.

“Tough loss, but it had to come at some point, unfortunately,” said GVSU coach Dana Callihan, who was recently named GLIAC Co-Coach of the Year. “When you’re on a 20-game winning streak, you know it’s going to come to an end at some point.”

The 20-game win streak is surprisingly only the third longest streak in team history. Past Laker teams recorded a 21-game streak and a 30-game run.

The GLIAC Championship Tournament is usually a double elimination tournament, but the schedule was changed due to inclement weather. Instead, it was a single-elimination bracket with a best of three conference championship series Sunday, May 7.

Saginaw Valley State swept the Eagles 2-0 to take the 2017 GLIAC Tournament Championship.

The Lakers, ranked sixth in the latest regional rankings, are hopeful they will get a spot in the NCAA Division II Softball Tournament. The selection show is at 10 a.m. Monday, April 8, on www.ncaa.com. The top eight teams from each region make it to the tournament. The NCAA tournament will begin this coming weekend.

GVSU ended the regular season ranked first overall in the GLIAC standings.

In the first game against the Oilers Friday, sophomore ace Allison Lipovsky, who was named GLIAC Pitcher of the Year, delivered on the mound. She pitched a complete game, had 14 strikeouts, gave up two walks and had four earned runs.

Lipovsky hadn’t pitched since the end of the regular season Saturday, April 29.

“Having that week off of no games hurt a couple of us,” Lipovsky said. “I didn’t perform as well against Findlay. I made a couple pitching mistakes and had earned runs. This next week, I’m going to be working on those pitches and make sure I don’t make those mistakes.”

Lipovsky is 15-3 on the year with a 1.41 ERA.

Despite Lipovsky’s four runs, the Laker bats were able to give GVSU the win. Senior Kelsey Dominguez batted 4-for-4 with two RBI’s and a double. Senior Ellie Balbach went 3-for-4 as the designated hitter with an RBI.

Juniors Jessica Ramos and Teagan Shomin and freshman Kelcie LaTour each had an RBI. The Lakers outhit Findlay 15-4, and seven different batters had at least one hit.

In the second game versus the Eagles, the Lakers had an early 3-0 lead after the first inning.

However, GVSU had trouble generating more offense, and the Eagles slowly caught up. Ashland scored on a throwing error in the third and then scored four more runs in the sixth to take a 5-3 lead.

Callihan said the Lakers may have let complacency settle in after taking the early lead.

“We were really aggressive in the first inning scoring three runs, then I thought we were coasting a little bit,” Callihan said. “Ashland is ‘never die,’ and that was a lesson for us.”

Junior Courtney Reinhold pitched the first five innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run. Junior Allie Grys came in for relief and allowed four hits and one earned run over two innings.

The Lakers scored on RBIs from senior Jenna Lenza, sophomore Shannon Flaherty and Dominguez.

The loss in the GLIAC Championship Tournament doesn’t hurt as much as a loss in the NCAA tournament. Dominguez said losing a game now could be an advantage heading into the tournament, as the Lakers had not felt the sting of a loss in over a month.

They don’t want to have that feeling again.

“Having all the adversity and having all of the ups and downs that we’ve had, we’ll hit the reset button and continue what we’ve been working on mentally and physically,” Dominguez said. “This loss is not going to faze us. Losses happen.

“We’ve just got to bring the energy and keep the attack mindset.”