GVSU softball sweeps Davenport, extends winning streak to 17

GVL / Emily Frye
Jessica Ramos directs the team on the next play during the game against SVSU on Sunday March 25th, 2018.

GVL / Emily Frye Jessica Ramos directs the team on the next play during the game against SVSU on Sunday March 25th, 2018.

Kellen Voss

In a day that started with snow on the ground, the Grand Valley State softball team was hot yet again, sweeping Davenport on Monday, April 9, in a home doubleheader, 1-0 and 7-5.

The Lakers added two more wins to their 17-game winning streak, looking dominant almost all afternoon long. GVSU was ahead for the entirety of both games.

The first game was a pitchers’ duel, as GVSU’s Allison Lipovsky and Davenport’s Mallory Teunissen combined to give up only seven runs in the game, while also producing 23 strikeouts. The lone run in the game was scored by Bailey Thatcher, who was driven home by Kaylie Rhynard on a double down the left field line.

Coach Dana Callahan was very impressed with how her pitchers performed, as they were yet again the key to victory for the Lakers.

“I was proud of the way we pitched today,” Callahan said. “We had a lot of errors late in the second game, but our pitchers were still able to get the job done.”

The bats finally did wake up for both teams in the second game, as Grand Valley State and Davenport combined for 12 runs and 16 hits in the second contest.

A hot start from Hannah Beatus on the mound allowed the Lakers to rack up the runs on the offensive end, scoring six runs in the first three innings. Four of those runs came from home runs, as Taylor Rieger and Shannon Flaherty each hit their own two-run dinger in the second game.

Going yard is a great feeling for any softball or baseball player, and each bomber has different thoughts going through their head as the ball hits the bat. 

“I saw it was a change-up right away,” Rieger said. “It’s all about sitting back and driving, and as soon as it hit the bat, I knew it had a chance.”

Rieger and Flaherty weren’t the only ones to perform well on offense in the second game, either. GVSU received runs from all across the lineup, with Rhynard, Brooke Henning and Tanner Kiesel combining for five hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Beatus kept up the good work throughout her complete game, posting five strikeouts and only giving up one earned run. The area the Lakers struggled with in the game was fielding, as four errors eventually led to four unearned runs late in the game, keeping the game too close for comfort for Callihan.

“We really are doing a lot well right now,” Callihan said. “But we have to be able to clean up those fielding mistakes, and we got to finish the game on defense.”

Rieger attributed these errors to a lack of focus late in the second game, saying that if her team wants to stay in contention against playoff teams, they have to keep their eyes on the prize.

“We really did show a lack of focus late in the second game,” Rieger said. “It’s good to have fun and goof around, but we also have to remember to stay focused at the end of these games.”

With the two wins, GVSU’s overall record improves to 25-5 on the year, and the Lakers are getting comfy on their throne at the top of the GLIAC.

The Lakers are also undefeated in conference play so far, with an impressive 12-0 record. It is a long season and this team is far from perfect, but it’s not crazy to think they could go undefeated throughout the rest of conference play.

“We do have a lot of games left,” Rieger said. “We have 20 more conference games left since we play every team (in the GLIAC) four times. It would be a difficult task to go undefeated in the conference, but it’s definitely possible, and we’ll try our best to do that.”

The Lakers look to improve their impressive 2018 campaign. They travel to Tiffin on Thursday, April 12, for a doubleheader with Tiffin, the second-place team in the GLIAC. Those games start at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

GVSU stays on the road this weekend, too, traveling to play a doubleheader with Ferris State on Saturday, April 14, and another one at Northwood on Sunday, April 15. Saturday’s games are also at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., while Sundays games are set to start at noon and 2 p.m.