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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Softball ends season and a half losing streak

By Joe Wlos

Grinnell’s softball team finished its Pioneer Tournament with their second win of the season. After falling to Westminster College three times this year, the Pioneers finally managed to defeat them in a dramatic consolation game.

“We lost to them earlier in the tournament in pool play,” Coach Amanda Reckamp said. “But we came through with some hitting when we needed to. We were down five-nothing, and it was good to get a comeback win when we had to fight back and overcome some bad hitting earlier in the tournament.”

Reckamp credits good pitching for the team’s change in fortune against Westminster.

“The biggest thing [for pitchers] is confidence,” Reckamp said.

First-year Jennifer Fulton was the Pioneer’s player on the mound, earning her first collegiate win.

“Jen throws three or four different pitches, so that helps her in terms of movement,” Reckamp said. “Jen pitched in our opener against Westminster at the very beginning of the season.  They hit her really hard. I gave her that start in the consolation game, because I thought that she had something to prove, and they got a couple good hits on her, and they scored some runs, but she stayed with it. In that last inning, Westminster went down one-two-three, so that was good.”

“I think [my pitches] change it up,” Fulton said. “A lot of pitchers focus on their speed. I just try to focus on getting my pitches to the right spot and making them move. I think that we all worked really hard to pull it all together.”

In addition to pitching, the team relied on crisp play and small, but sure advances, although there was one big moment.  Amanda Stromquist ’12 hit a homer to become Grinnell softball’s all-time leader in home runs.

“We also committed far less errors than we had in the previous three games against Westminster,” Reckamp added.

“We just came in and kept them to small hits, so that the defense could make plays. I pitched the right pitches, and then they quickly got to the ball,” Fulton said.

All of the team’s runs came in one inning. It was a standout showing in a game that could have ended in a struggle.

“There was a different attitude that day,” Team Captain Jayme Wiebold ’12 said. “We scored all of our runs in one inning with two outs, and I think that shows resilience. The thing that was unique was that it was a total team effort.”

This weekend, the team will be travelling to the Midwest Conference Crossover Tournament in Waukegan, Illinois. The Pioneers will be working to make up for earlier conference losses in order to earn a bid to the Conference Tournament at the end of the season.

“It will be good to carry this win into this weekend,” Reckamp said. “When we pitch well and keep the ball on the ground, we do substantially better against teams. We kept up with Coe College, which was ranked third in the nation at the time, 2-0 into the sixth inning. That tells you how good our pitching can be.”

“We spent [time] getting individual work done, so that will be helpful when we put it all together for the Crossover Tournament,” Wiebold said.

The pitching won’t be the only strong part of the team’s effort. Both Wiebold and Summer Wilke ’15 made the All-Tournament team last weekend. Coach Reckamp is looking for them to repeat their performances.

“[Wiebold] plays some very good defense,” Reckamp said. “Her bat is starting to come alive. In our two wins, she’s definitely been a dominating force in both the wins. Summer Wilke, who has a lot of potential during her career here, has hit well in both of the games that we have won. We moved her to the leadoff spot during the tournament [last weekend], where she produced some walks, so we get runners on the base early.”

Coming up, the team hopes to perform well against teams that they faced last year and just came up short of defeating.

“Knox and Monmouth will be tough opponents,” Reckamp said . “Now we have pitching depth to overcome some of the runs that they had against us.”

In her last year, Wiebold is excited to conclude her career as captain of a team that is clearly taking positive steps toward long-term success.

“The program is definitely on the upswing,” Wiebold said. “This year’s team has worked hard. The program has been through a lot in recent years. We have some disadvantages—there aren’t many of us—but the kids that are here work really hard, and coach is taking us in the right direction.”

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