HITTERS PARADISE 11 homers power weekend sweep Team hits .392, smacked 48 homers

Sophomore pitcher Hannah Santora winds up for a pitch during Saturdays softball game

Nicole Lamson

Sophomore pitcher Hannah Santora winds up for a pitch during Saturday’s softball game

Brady Fredericksen

The Grand Valley State University softball team shredded visiting Lake Superior State University’s pitching staff this past weekend en route to a four-game sweep as the Lakers extended their win streak to 10 games.

The Lakers (27-4, 13-1 GLIAC) swept visiting Lake Superior State University (4-19, 1-15 GLIAC) thanks to a combined 11 home runs, three of which came off the bat of freshman third baseman Miranda Cleary.

“I really don’t even keep track of how many I hit,” said Cleary, who went 6-for-8 on Saturday. “I know I have them, but I don’t like to know the exact number because I think team-hitting is more important than individual.”

The Lakers completed the sweep with 4-2 and 10-2 wins during Sunday’s twinbill action. Sophomore outfielder Brittany Taylor slugged two homers on the day while sophomore pitcher Katie Martin added another to her growing total.

In the opening inning of game one on Saturday, freshman Tonya Calkins cleared the bases with a three-run shot, her fifth of the season. Cleary then stepped up and drilled a monster solo shot of her own, one that went over the scoreboard in left field.

“The hitting is definitely contagious,” said Calkins, a first baseman. “We’ve almost normalized home runs, but once one person hits a bomb, we all let loose and unleash the beast.”

That combination of power was just the start for the Lakers as they used solid defense and pitching to cruise to an 8-0 win.

“I think it’s great. I mean, it’s not just one person – it’s the whole team,” said sophomore pitcher Katie Martin. “All through the lineup, any one person can hit it. So it’s really exciting that we’re all hitting it so well.”

While the 8-0 win in game one was dominating, the team performed an encore in game two. After falling behind two runs due to a sloppy first inning, the team took control of the game.

On a day when Martin had a relatively normal 5-for-8 day at the plate, Cleary and company picked up the slack and took it to the visiting Lakers.

GVSU continued its home run streak with a Cleary solo shot in the first. The Lakers scored their first nine runs of the day on home runs and added three more from sophomore Kayleigh Bertram, sophomore Briauna Taylor and Calkins.

“In 21 years of coaching, I’ve never had a team this good at hitting,” said GVSU head coach Doug Woods. “You have to hope the wheels don’t fall off, but it’s nice when your 7-8-9 hitters can keep it up too.”

This team is the best in all of Division II in terms of batting average (.392) and slugging percentage (.637), but its home run totals (51 to opponents’ 12) are the dominating statistic.

Before this season, the program’s season-high for home runs was 43, set in 2007. With the season a little over the half way point, these Lakers have already eclipsed the record and are on pace for an eye-popping 81 long balls.

“I think this would be more of a streak if everyone was going up there with wild swings,” Woods said. “In a coaching career, I don’t know how much you see something like this. It helps you sleep a little better at night.”

GVSU will next see action against Hillsdale College Wednesday for a doubleheader set to begin at 3 p.m.

[email protected]