GV softball begins season with Lewis Dome sweep


Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Anthony Clark Jr., Sports Editor

The Grand Valley State University softball team competed in the Lewis Dome Tournament to open the 2023 campaign as they finished the three-day stretch with a perfect 5-0 record.

With a five-game slate, the Lakers faced off against Minnesota Duluth (1-0) and Walsh University (9-1) to finish day one (Feb. 24), defeated Truman State (10-2) and William Jewell (2-1) the following day and closed the tournament with a victory against Winona State in a 7-0 shutout.

“Overall I think all the wins have been very gritty wins,” said Head Coach Dana Callihan. “Our offenses definitely weren’t firing on all cylinders yet (and) we’re learning that we have to make adjustments.”

Redshirt senior Hannah Beatus led the charge for GVSU in their season opener against Duluth as she pitched a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts, tallying the program’s 26th no-hitter since the 2000 season.

The lone home run came from redshirt senior Lydia Goble in the bottom of the first inning after Goble hit a triple to set up redshirt senior Morgan Wagner for a single-base hit, allowing Goble to score.

I’m just super grateful for the eight girls behind me on the field and the other 11 in the dugout,” Beatus said. “Coach Jen is my mentor and someone I put on a pedestal so even being able to learn from her and be on those record books with her – I am just so grateful and honored.”

Just as Callihan mentioned about making adjustments, the game against Walsh was an offensive blowout that featured nine scorers and a defense led by junior pitcher Ashley Platek who allowed just one run out of four-total hits in the game that ended in just five innings.

Day two featured another blowout and a walk-off home run, with GVSU defeating Truman in six innings after their second-consecutive mercy rule victory. The second game against William Jewell went down to the wire, with the underclassmen coming up big for the team to secure their fourth win of the season.

We’re experimenting with some different lineups, different players in there (since) we have several freshmen in there that have been able to jump in the lineup for us just to see what they can do so we can find out what type of character this team is going to have,” Callihan said.

Sophomore Liberti Fair not only recorded her first career hit, but the at-bat would also lead to a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure the game 2-1 in a dramatic finish.

It felt awesome to finally square the ball up! It felt like the whole game our lineup was making solid contact, we were just hitting it right to people,” Fair said. “Our defense did an awesome job holding them to one run. My team played amazing and I am very proud of everyone.”

To wrap up the three-day tournament, the Lakers shut out Winona State on Feb. 26 with six of their seven runs all happening during the sixth inning and finishing the tournament with a commanding 29-4 scoring output against all five opponents combined.

Overall, Callihan said the tournament was a sign of good things to come this season with the team adjusting well to clutch situations, finding their rhythm after slow starts to games and was also appreciative of the sound leadership coming from the upperclassmen.

That’s what we’re trying to figure out with these early games; what is the character of this team?” Callihan said. “With that so far, I have been very, very pleased.”

“I think it shows the leadership and the veterans that we do have on the squad,” Callihan said. “(Our seniors) have done a great job at leading this team through the practice rounds, and that’s why we wanted Hannah on the mound that very first game no matter who we play because she sets the tone. She’s got some confidence and lets everybody know (what she’s capable of) as she sets the tone for the rest of the team. You can see that radiate through the rest of everybody.”

With the tournament behind them, the Lakers will take the week to prepare for spring action as a long stretch of games are right around the corner.

Tons of positives were taken away from the weekend but also things that we have gotten exposed to and know we need to improve to accomplish the goals we’ve set for ourselves,” Beatus said. “Our performance this weekend is great momentum going into Florida.”

Spring action will begin on the road for GVSU between March 5-11 with the team facing a slate of 12 opponents.