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Softball’s hot streak continues

Melissa Anderson ’18 pitches versus Knox College last week. Photo by Misha Gelnarova
Melissa Anderson ’18 pitches versus Knox College last week. Photo by Misha Gelnarova
Melissa Anderson ’18 pitches versus Knox College last week. Photo by Misha Gelnarova

The Grinnell College softball team continued their streak of wins last weekend, taking three out of four games in a pair of doubleheaders against Knox College and Illinois College. On top of this, the Pioneers picked up a win versus Iowa Wesleyan College in a game in which three Grinnell records were set.

In the first game against Knox College, the Pioneers produced 14 hits, including a grand slam home run by Andrea Leff ’18, in a 15-5 victory. The game lasted only five innings due to the mercy rule, a NCAA softball rule that ends a game if one of the teams is ahead by eight or more runs after five innings.

“To come out and put up a ton of runs against somebody was nice,” said head coach Amanda Reckamp. “We just took over the game.”

Grinnell blew the game open in the third inning, scoring seven runs, punctuated by Leff’s grand slam.

“[Leff] told me, and I didn’t even know this, she had never hit a home run in her entire life,” Reckamp said. “She definitely is capable of having a lot of power.”

Melissa Anderson ’18 picked up the win for the Pioneers, allowing nine hits while striking out four over five innings. The Pioneers dropped the second game of the day 2-1, largely because their bats could not generate the same firepower as in the first game. They managed only two hits despite a strong six-inning performance by pitcher Maggie Remus ’18.   

“She didn’t really deserve the loss. Our bats weren’t really awake,” Reckamp said.

The next day, the Pioneers made their way to Jacksonville, Illinois to face Illinois College, where they took two games from the Lady Blues for their first doubleheader sweep since 2009. Kayla Morrissey ’18, who says the team “listens to a lot of Glee,” particularly “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” to get ready before games, led Grinnell with three hits in their 5-4 victory in the first game. Reckamp and her players agreed that their successful execution of four bunts was one of their keys to victory.

“We put down four bunts in a row. The first few they didn’t field ,” Reckamp said. “Our small game came up really big in this game … literally bunts won that game.”

“It’s something we had worked on in practice a lot last week and so it feels good to immediately translate something we learned in practice to game situations,” Anderson said.

The string of bunts allowed Grinnell to triumph despite being out-hit by a two to one margin (Illinois College had 14 hits to Grinnell’s seven), and delivered Anderson her second win in as many days.

The Pioneers picked up an easier 6-1 victory in the second game of the day by virtue of Maggie Remus’ strong outing, allowing just five hits over six innings.

On Tuesday, the Pioneers came back to Grinnell and split a doubleheader versus Iowa Wesleyan, squeaking out a 3-2 victory in the first game. Morrissey collected three hits, giving her 43 on the season, breaking the record of 41 established by Sarah Connor in 1998. On top of this, Morrissey belted two home runs, tying the single-game home run record. If this was not enough, Lydia Stariha ’17 set a school record for runs in a season by scoring her 27 on the season, breaking the previous record of 25, set by Connor again, in 1999. The Pioneers dropped the second game 10-6.

The Pioneers are now 6-23 on the season with the reputable 5-6 record within the Midwest Conference. Grinnell will host Lake Forest on Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

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