Bats come alive as Lakers now 7-1 in conference play

GVL / Archive 
Junior softball player Nellie Kosola.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Junior softball player Nellie Kosola.

Zach Sepanik

It was “go big or go home” Wednesday for the No. 14 Grand Valley State University softball team as they hit six home runs in a doubleheader sweep at Northwood University, earning victories of 17-3 and 7-4, pushing their winning streak to seven straight.

The Lakers (24-4 overall, 7-1 GLIAC) used four home runs in game one to defeat the Timberwolves (5-15 overall, 2-6 GLIAC), including a pair of homers from sophomore third baseman Miranda Cleary. In game two, it was junior right fielder Emily Jones who let her bat do the talking, clearing the fence twice to give her three roundtrippers on the day.

“The second game we were behind when I hit both of them,” Jones said. “I was seeing the ball really well and just put some good swings on it. We either all hit really good, or we all struggle at the same time. It is great when everyone is hitting throughout the order because you don’t have to rely on one person.”

To compliment the long-ball in game one, Cleary also knocked in six runs for the Lakers, with Jones contributing four RBI and sophomore first baseman Tonya Calkins chipping in three, as well as two hits. The team tallied 13 total hits, with junior second baseman Kayleigh Bertram also adding a multi-hit game. Junior designated player Katie Martin led the barrage across home plate with three runs scored.

On the mound, senior pitcher Andrea Nicholson earned her 10th win of the season. She gave up six walks and three runs (two earned), but held Northwood to only three hits.

“Everybody was hitting the ball well,” Bertram said. “We made some good plays to come back after the long weekend. It was great to see that we could keep the ball rolling. The umpires were not giving our pitchers anything, but they did great to battle that.”

While Cleary held the spotlight in game one, Jones stole it to make sure the Lakers would prevail in game two.

In the bottom of the third inning, with the score tied at one, the Lakers used some small ball to gain an advantage. Junior center fielder Nellie Kosola started things with a bunt single, sophomore shortstop Briauna Taylor then laid down a sacrifice bunt, followed by Martin smacking an RBI single. Jones then followed with her second homer of the day, a two-run shot just inside the right field line, putting GVSU up 4-1.

Further drama ensued in the bottom of the fifth inning with the game tied at four. Taylor reached on a one-out single and two batters later, Jones fought through a 10-pitch at-bat to launch her second home run of the game, giving the Lakers the lead for good.

“All through the lineup we hit the ball hard. The second game we have to highlight Emily Jones who had two home runs,” said GVSU head coach Doug Woods. “We probably gave up more walks pitching than we should but we ran into some umpires with some smaller zones. I liked our composure. They hung right in there and just kept throwing.”

Jones knocked in four of the teams seven runs in the second game, also scoring twice. Kosola also added two hits and two runs scored, while Martin had two RBI and two hits.

Meanwhile, junior pitcher Hannah Santora improved her record in the circle to 11-1. She struck out five batters and walked four, giving up four runs (two earned) and seven hits.

The Lakers now come home for a four-game series against rival Ferris State University with two games on Saturday and two on Sunday.

“I think they will be very happy to be at home,” Woods said. “We have had a couple long road trips and they like to play at home. And you bring in our rival Ferris so we should be fired up for that.”

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