GV Softball goes 3-2 in Indiana for weekend series


Courtesy of GVSU Athletics

Holly Bihlman, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University softball team had a busy weekend in Evansville, Indiana, playing split doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday and ending with one game on Sunday for the Midwest Region Crossover. The Lakers started the weekend off with a 3-0 record, but two losses against Trevecca Nazarene and a win against Kentucky Wesleyan and Lake Erie brought them to 3-2 as of Saturday. They played Lake Erie again on Sunday, winning 7-0. 

COVID-19 has brought on a variety of issues for every team at GVSU. Coach Dana Callihan and the team have been forced to adapt to playing less games each week than in previous seasons. They are also missing out on their annual trip to Florida to compete over spring break, which the NCAA cancelled. 

“It’s not ideal by any stretch,” Callihan said. “The NCAA reduced the number of maximum games we could play and the fact that GVSU cancelled their spring break, that forced us to cancel the Florida trip. Usually once we get started, we want to keep going, but it is what it is. We just have to adapt and come out and play.”

In the first game on Friday against Trevecca, the Lakers fell 8-6, but were able to grab some home runs in the seventh inning. Nikoma Holmen, Taylor Rieger and Lydia Goble all hit home runs Friday morning, with Rieger hitting a two-run HR sixth inning to push the Lakers forward. Ashley Platek pitched and retired ten straight in the first inning, but Trevecca held onto their lead to win the game. 

“We knew they were going to be a tough team going into it,” Callihan said. “I don’t think we were quite ready for some of the things that they threw at us and we didn’t adjust soon enough. They threw some pitching that we hadn’t seen in a while.” 

In their second game of the day against Kentucky Wesleyan, the Lakers started strong with Rieger’s double and Holmen’s sac fly in the first inning. That was followed by Rieger with two more home runs in the third. Sophomore pitcher Hannah Beatus took the mound for the game, only allowing three hits and a walk, striking out nine people and no hits. The Lakers ended up shutting out Kentucky 8-0 Friday afternoon. 

Saturday morning, the Lakers played a strong first inning against Lake Erie with a solo home run from Goble, followed by home runs from Brooke Henning and Megan Koenigshof in the fourth. Hannah Dieck pitched five innings, allowing one run, three walks and striking out three players. Ashley Platek closed out the game with two perfect innings, bringing the score to 6-1. 

When they played against Trevecca again, the Lakers came back from a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning with a home run from Henning and an RBI single by Koengshof to tie up the score. Beatus pitched for extra innings, but Trevecca scored two runs in the eighth. 

“It was one of those things where the ball didn’t really go our way in those games, but we were still playing some good ball,” Beatus said. “We kind of talked about we don’t want to be playing our best softball right now and we want to be able to learn from our games and build on that momentum.” 

After their first busy weekend of the season, the girls are looking to continue gaining experience for the younger players on the team, including some of the sophomores that didn’t get to play much last year.

“We need to see all kinds of different pitching just so we can get our hand in that,” Callihan said. “We’re going to throw some different people out there to see what they can do, and see where our lineup falls.” 

The Lakers will be traveling to Ohio to play against Ohio Dominican and Walsh on March 20 and 21. Before their series, the team will remain focused on making progress every day and working as a team to knock out their competitors. 

“Our main goal this season so far has been getting that one percent better every day,” Beatus said. “The big thing for us is trying not to overanalyze situations that we’re in with pitchers and the team; we’re just playing our game.”

As the season continues, the Lakers will have the opportunity to play each team four times, so they’ll be learning from each competitor’s game play and improving their own until the GLIAC Tournament and NCAA Championships in May.