Pete Barrows

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Shipley, GVSU cruise to victory in Mass.

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Shipley, Hartigan finish 1,2 yet again as No. 6 Lakers claim convincing victory at Merrimack Invitational on MondayGVL / Emily Frye Senior Gabrielle Shipley


Pete Barrows
Featurist

Conceit is bragging about one’s self – the kind of thing Rickie Fowler might do – and is often more about show than substance. Confidence is another quality entirely.

It’s a belief you can get the job done and even in doses, a little of it – the sort that enabled pre-scandal Tiger to become the only golfer in history to win four straight majors, Rory McIlroy to play the entire back-nine with nothing but a 7-iron, John Daly to brazenly play the Old Course at St. Andrews in tiger striped Zubaz slacks, Arnold Palmer to boldly blend ice tea and lemonade and Anika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie to take on the boys – can go a long away; particularly on a golf course.

For Grand Valley State University junior Gabrielle Shipley, who had just the right amount of moxie to get the job done on Monday, that length was 13 strokes ahead of the pack, good for first overall at the Merrimack Invitational on the sloping greens of the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, Mass.

It was the first official outright first of Shipley’s collegiate career.

After carding a career-low round of 2-under 70 in round one, Shipley returned to the course Monday seven strokes ahead of second-place leader, senior teammate and two-time GLIAC Women’s Golfer of the Year Kelly Hartigan, and finished the outing with a 1-under round of 71 to give herself the lowest 36-hole score of her three-year career to date. Shipley, a two-time All-GLIAC First Team honoree, led the field with nine birdies – only one other player made more than five – and played both the par 4s and par 5s at 2-under, pacing all 52 competitors in those categories.

“It was a difficult course in that you had to be strategic with your targets and place the ball in certain areas to give yourself birdie or even par opportunities, but I was happy with my approach and how I played it,” Shipley said. “I could hit 3-wood or driver off the tee and I would still get myself 120 yards into the green, my approaches were accurate and I was putting really well with a new putting style I trusted the entire weekend, both of which helped put my mind at ease and allow me to take advantage of the chances I created.

“I won first place by 13 strokes – there are not many better ways to get your first win – and I did it with a lot of confidence in my game. I was never expecting that – to win a tournament by shooting three under par, but it felt good to reassure to myself that I can be that kind of golfer.”

After shooting a 29-over 317, four strokes ahead of second-place Missouri-Saint Louis and at least 12 shots in front of the other seven teams in the field on day one, No. 6 GVSU, like Shipley, returned triumphantly on Monday to finish what it started. GVSU was the only team to break 320 on either day, firing a 13-over 301 on day two, and with a cumulative score of 42-over 618, the Lakers defeated second-place Missouri-Saint Louis by a margin of 26 strokes.

Hartigan parred 24 of her 36 holes, and placed second with a total round score of 10-over 154, while sophomore Alex Taylor tied for sixth place, the highest finish of her career, after shooting a career-low 2-over 74 on the closing 18 holes and tallying a score of 14-over 158 for the event. Freshman Samantha Moss finished tied for 13th with a 22-over 166, the first top-15 finish of her career, and sophomore Julie Guckian cracked the top 20 for a second straight week with a 24-over 168.

All six of GVSU’s competitors placed within the top-20 at the event, and club selection by club selection, swing by swing, lie by lie, putt by putt, stroke by stroke and hole by hole, the team’s confidence, as it has all season, continued to grow.

“Gabrielle came off a confidence booster of summer qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, and she’s just built off of that this entire season – 3-under par is great golf,” said coach Rebecca Mailloux. “I know getting that first collegiate victory was on her list of goals, especially when you play so well against the field, but it’s really no surprise; Gabrielle is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached and never settles for good enough.

“She’s calm, super focused, in the zone – really the whole team is – and we’re getting results. And that confidence that they each bring to the table in their own way builds, and they feed of it and each other. That makes the individuals better. That makes the team better.”

With only a few weeks remaining in the fall season, GVSU will look to take first place for a third consecutive time later this month at the inaugural Malone Invitational. The two-day event will be held at The Legends at Massillon in Ohio from Oct. 18 through Oct. 19.

And against a very deep conference field, confidence will again be in high demand.

“We shot our highest team score of the season this past weekend, and several of our girls shot significantly better in round two than they did in round one,” Shipley said. “That’s progress, but we can’t rest on our laurels.

“We’ve never played the course down in Massillon before, but we do know we’re going to see a lot of tough conference competition. We also know that we need to just go out and do our thing confidently, and can’t allow the competition or the course throw you off our game if we’re going to finish the season strong.”

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Written by peterdbarrows

October 9, 2014 at 9:59 pm

GVSU falls 2-0 in spring exhibition at MSU

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Pete Barrows
Assistant Sports Editor

A Miley Cyrus fueled playlist blared on the bus ride home from East Lansing after a final game of the spring season – a season where last year’s NCAA Division II national title counts little – in which the Grand Valley State University soccer team was defeated 2-0 by Michigan State University.

MSU broke a scoreless tie minutes after returning to the pitch for the second half, and broke the game open with a second goal less than 10 minutes later. Although at the end of 90 minutes, a daunting spring schedule and a historically successful season in the fall that was crowned with a championship, GVSU found plenty of victories off of the scoreboard.

“One of the biggest challenges this spring has been playing for 90 minutes without taking mental breaks, knowing the game plan and then executing it,” GVSU coach Dave Dilanni said. “But aside from the two goals we allowed – which were mental mistakes – I thought we controlled the majority of possession against a Big Ten team, got strong efforts from our center mids and backs in terms of quality of play, saw our forwards be active both on offense and defense, and between the boxes, we were the better team.

“Unfortunately, that’s not what wins you games, and you never like to lose, but winning games is not our focus in the spring season. We’re disappointed with how we gave up those goals, but the score was not indicative of what we got out of the game.”

After a 2013 season of nary allowing a goal, the Lakers have uncharacteristically had a few scoring lapses this spring; two on Saturday.

In both cases, GVSU turned the ball over in the midfield, and allowed MSU forwards to run on and get the ball behind the defense. In both cases, GVSU was unable to get either goal back.

“I thought that our midfield, in general, played better than MSU’s, and that our girls played to the whistle for a good 88 minutes – that’s all positive,” Dilanni said. “I’m really pleased that our best game and our best quality of play as a team came in the last game of the spring against our best opponent.

“We gave up more goals than we’re accustomed to giving up, didn’t score at a clip that we normally score at and need to continue to improve, but we got better throughout the spring season, ended on our highest note and for that, I’m proud of kids.

“What we need to do now is understand that it is our job as individuals and as a team to create a foundation for next season. A solid foundation based on work-rate, team chemistry and knowing our roles so that we can take on seven or eight more players next fall with a tone already set.”

Unimpeded by the loss, several student-athletes on the team took a well-deserved reprieve after the game to enjoy a Miley Cyrus concert.

Some of the girls in attendance held starting roles on last year’s team, while some are being asked to step into new roles with a new season on the horizon. But for GVSU – as it was for Hannah Montana – change is inevitable, and not necessarily less fruitful.

Cyrus has evolved from a family-friendly, tweenage icon with Disney ears to a tabloid regular who helped put GVSU’s now restrained pendulum on the map, players – like All-Americans Kayla Kimble, Tayler Ward and Abbey Miller – come and go, but not without leaving an indelible impact on the esteemed GVSU women’s soccer program first, and where as Dilanni and his players acknowledge that with a new season comes a new team, neither party anticipate a divergence from past success – even if that success looks a little different than it did in the past.

“It’s been a very long, very successful year, yet we’re still asking ourselves how we can still improve,” senior goalkeeper, and likely replacement for Miller, Andrea Strauss said. “Our goal this spring was to improve, to make progress, to build on our future and to be ready for August – we’ve done that.

“Now we have to ask how much can we improve on the base? What do we have to work with now, and what are we adding in the fall? What do we need to do so that we can reach our peak at the right time?

“We’ve all learned a great deal for past players and experiences, myself included, for instance how to be a leader, how to stay humble, be there for your teammates and perpetuate what we learn, but we need to continue to improve everyday, to better ourselves everyday, to stay motivated to recreate experiences like we had last year, and to get the freshmen to buy into everything we tried to do this spring so that they can have those kinds of experiences too.”

Heading into the summer – a segment of the offseason where personal growth is emphasized – GVSU will have officially closed the book on the 2013 season that was and focus instead on turning the page to the 2014 season that will be.

With an understanding that 2013, as tremendous a season as it was, does not solely define Laker soccer, and that when making a transition to a new look within the same entity, it’s alright to hope for the best of both worlds.

“I think we played hard as a team, did a lot of the same things that helped us to be successful in past years, and in a lot of ways dominated the game, but we are still learning what this team is going to be all about,” redshirt sophomore forward Olivia Emery said. “It’s a cool process building a team – from the spring season where we’re still transitioning from the previous year, to the preseason, where we add new girls and get to work meshing.

“Seeing what everyone brings to the table on the field and in personality, what everyone’s weaknesses and strengths are, and then working to make those collective weaknesses strengths. To see it all and put it together; one new team.”

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To read the original post “GVSU falls 2-0 in spring exhibition at MSU”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

April 15, 2014 at 2:09 am

GVSU outscores Lake Erie 15-0 in twinbill

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Cold weather, not bats for GV swingers


Pete Barrows
Assistant Sports EditorGVL / Archive Briauna Taylor at batFrost clung to grass tips and chain links in the backstop as senior shortstop Briauna Taylor stepped to the plate in the second inning of Monday morning’s double-header matchup with Lake Erie College, but not even a forenoon chill could keep Taylor’s motor from running.

After weeks stored inside, most mechanisms require time to warm up, but the entire Grand Valley State University softball team roared to life with 15 runs scored to only seven hits allowed in back-to-back wins – a 4-0 win in game one, and a 11-0 win in game two – overLEC (3-13, 0-4) with relative ease. It was Taylor that twirled the crankshaft.

“Going into that game, we had talked as a team about how we needed to get the bats going a little bit more, so that was a focus against Lake Erie – to get some runs and put them together any way that we could,” Taylor said. “We needed a little warm-up period coming back from inside, which we got against Walsh, but we have people setting in, contributing and hitting when we need them to hit.

“So when I went up to the plate, I just went there to do my job and get on base – nothing more – so that the people behind me can hit me in.”

After legging out an infield single to lead off the inning and start the pistons firing, Taylor promptly stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored the game’s opening run on a RBI single from senior teammate Miranda Cleary. Next time up, Taylor bunted on to advance freshman Jenna Lenza into scoring position, again stole second and then came home on a sacrifice groundout supplied by senior Tanya Calkins.

In the second game of the double-header, Taylor opened up the throttle and slugged out a two-run homer – her seventh of the season and 29thof her career – over the left field fence, and then got on base for the second time in the third inning with hustle on a fielder’s choice.

Running at top form, GVSU (14-5, 3-1) scored 11 runs in the game, and between the two starts, Taylor tallied three hits on five at-bats to help manufacture six total runs.

“There are sometimes when we have some people on base that I want Briauna to hit and drive them in, but mostly I let her do what she wants to do,” GVSU skipper Doc Woods said. “That tater she knocked out was pretty deep, that bunt her next time up was well-placed, well-timed, and baseball-smart, and we have a lot of confidence in her making the right plays at the right time.”

On the other side of the mound, the pitching tandem of sophomore Sara Andrasik and junior Lauren Gevaart threw back-to-back shutouts with 12 combined strikeouts to just two combined walks, and allowed only a combined seven hits in 14 innings to help ignite the Lakers. Combined, GVSU’s pitching staff has surrendered only three runs in the last four games.

Andrasik’s complete-game one-hitter, the 11thshutout of her young career, in the day’s first game came packaged with five strikeouts, and was supported by small-ball tactics. Along with Briauna Taylor, Lenza also went 2-for-3 from the plate in the victory, while Cleary drove in a pair of runs.

Returning from a three-hit, 1-0 victory against Walsh Universityon Sunday, Gevaart, now 5-0 on the year, once again pitched well enough to win in the Monday’s second game, but was assisted much more thoroughly by Laker bats. Giving up just six hits, Gevaart dealt seven strikeouts, allowed only one runner to reach third base and rode a tidal wave of runs, the Lakers’ second-highest scoring output of the season, to victory.

“We’ve been working on mixing up our pitches more and showing batters different looks every time up to keep them off balance, and it’s been working,” Andrasik said. “After a three week break, we got off to a slow start with the bats, but come the fourth game of the weekend, we finally got them going, and when you get run support, that’s pressure off the pitcher’s shoulders.

“It makes it a lot easier to win the game, and as we regroup as a team, everything – from the batting to the pitching – feeds off of each other.”

Following Taylor’s lead, the young Laker bats sprung to life, too, in a kinetic chain reaction of offense. Freshman outfielder Kelsey Dominguez went 3-for-3 in the second game with two RBI, fellow freshman outfielder Chelsea Horvath scored twice, as did sophomore Taylor Fris, once with a lead-off solo blast to left field.

Another positive sign, like Taylor’s offensive production, GVSU’s pitching and a second outdoor practice in a rowon Wednesday as the Lakers drive into the bulk of their season. A season that is seemingly making a clean break at the right time, and will continue this weekend with two games scheduled against rival Ferris State University (7-8).

“They always want to beat us, we them, and in a rivalry, you always want to play well,” Woods said. “We have a very busy schedule upcoming in the next couple of weeks, and when you play that many back to back, you hope you’re playing well.

“Confidence carries over, and when you’re struggling and playing that many games, it’s not a fun situation, but I feel good about where we’re at – finally outside and playing good ball.”

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To read the original post “GVSU outscores Lake Erie 15-0 in twinbill”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

April 2, 2014 at 5:05 am

Gevaart’s gem highlights GVSU split at Walsh

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Lakers return to diamond after three-week break


 Pete Barrows
Assistant Sports Editor

At 10 a.m. Sunday morning, an inch of snow coated the Walsh University softball field. The outfield was waterlogged with leveed runoff, a breeze brought a chill to infield, but for the first time since March 8, the Grand Valley State University softball team returned to the dirt — and by 2 p.m. in the afternoon, morning winter storm be damned, the teams played ball.

As rays of sun fell upon the dugout on a day that transformed into a vague impression of spring, the Lakers split an afternoon twinbill with Walsh University — a 3-2 loss in game one and a 1-0 win in game two.

Some rust from a three-week hiatus was left for the Lakers to melt off with the last piles of lingering snow, but for the day, simply playing outside was progress.

“The conditions were good, not ideal,” senior third baseman Miranda Cleary said. “The outfield was a little damp, it was a little chilly, but it felt great to get finally back to it. Skill wise, there wasn’t too much rust for us, but it’s good for us to start getting back in the swing of things.”

Protected by a rain tarp, the Walsh field was cleared of an inclement rain and ice cocktail and then swept clean of snow with a band of snow blowers and shovels. The day before Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, the game wouldn’t be stopped.

Neither would GVSU junior starting pitcher Lauren Gevaart.

The teams were tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning of game one, but Walsh scored on a squeeze bunt and walked-off with the win, although GVSU didn’t score again all afternoon.

Gevaart pitched a three-hit complete-game shutout in game two, and the Lakers — after allowing a two-run, three-error inning in game one that gave Walsh an early lead — did not record a single fielding error in the rematch.

“Sometimes when I get behind in the count, I struggle, but I stayed ahead, which keeps the other team off balance, me in control and our defense in the game,” Gevaart said. “We didn’t hit great as a team, but we still played really solid defense.

“In my start, there were no errors, the defense backed me up the whole game, and I felt really confident out on the mound.”

GVSU’s hits were, like the games played this season, few and far between for stretches on Sunday, but they were timely like a combined effort of Walsh’s ground crew and cooperating afternoon weather.

Senior first baseman Tonya Calkins hit in both runs in game one with an RBI double to tie the score, but it was Cleary who knocked in the winning score with an RBI ground-out to third that scored freshman second baseman Jenna Lenza in the first inning of game two.

“Defense tends to win games, and I thought we improved quite a bit in that regard from the first game to the second,” GVSU coach Doc Woods said. “Lauren (Gevaart) had a real nice start with lots of strikeouts and worked out of some jams, we got to see a different pitcher for a change, and a good one — Casi Rohr pitched both games — and the hitting will continue to come.

“We’re a good offensive team and got what we needed today, but as we start playing more games in April, figure out how to get girls in scoring position more and don’t have a three-week break again, I think we’ll start hitting even better.”

GVSU (11-4) will play again Monday with a 10 a.m. doubleheader scheduled against Lake Erie College (3-10).

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Written by peterdbarrows

March 30, 2014 at 5:04 am

Defending champs scrimmage at Spring Arbor

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GVSU soccer team shows defensive potential in victory


Pete Barrows
Assistant Sports EditorGVL/Archive Bo AndersonKatie Klunder (2), and Katie Bounds (6)

The defending national champion Grand Valley State University soccer team took the pitch for just the second time this spring on Saturday afternoon with a trio of 30-minute scrimmages against Spring Arbor University, and returned home with a 1-0 victory.

Although the score and last season’s title results count for little as the Lakers gear up for another campaign.

“Nobody on this roster, outside of the coaching staff, has come back in the offseason as a national champion, and we’ll have to fight complacency,” GVSU coach Dave Dilanni said. “The foundation of next fall – the work, the sweat, the sacrifice — is going to come right now, and we all have to understand that to be able to grow.

“Last year’s done, and that national championship trophy is already in our trophy case. That trophy we want to go after next season is still out there for anyone to take.”

Starters Kayla Kimble, Tayler Ward, Taylor Callen and Abbey Miller as well as Autumn Jacobs, Kelsey Fiscus, Shelby Humphries, Sam Decker have all graduated from last year’s team, and leave a void along the Lakers’ last line of defense.

Sophomore forward Erika Bradfield’s early injury has hampered GVSU, too, as has a nicked-up time share in net between senior Andrea Strauss and redshirt sophomore Holly Ellerbroek.

Accounting for injuries and lost seniors, the Lakers are down numbers until a seven-member freshman class provides reinforcement in the fall.

They are currently working with a roster of 15 field players, yet despite the attrition, GVSU soccer has seemingly picked up right where it left off, and has not allowed a single goal this spring.

“We bring back more firepower on offense than defense, but our defending is ahead of our attacking right now, the same as last year,” Dilanni said. “It’s harder to teach and gel offense, but we are getting chances, even if we’re not finishing them.

“The big question for us in the spring, especially being short-handed the way we are, even more than ‘are we winning games?’ or are ‘are we scoring goals?’ is ‘are we getting better everyday?’

“We have a talented group, but the spring is a time for kids to improve as individuals more than as a team. The hope is that you’re a better player in the spring than in the previous fall, especially the less-experienced kids, and we’re still working on figuring out who we can count on in the fall.”

On defense, sophomore Clare Carlson will take up a right back position, senior Alyssa Wesley will move inside to center back with fellow senior Juane Odendaal, and junior Katy Woolley will resume her spot on the Laker defense.

In two games this season, the unit has played and progressed without missing a beat.

“We knew that we were going to have a little less experience in the back, so we’ve really focused on getting familiar with each other, communicating and building a bond so that we’re able to lead this team out of the back,” Woolley said. “That really helps, I think, cycling into games just as strong as we’ve been in years past.”

Up front, junior Katie Klunder, sophomore Marti Corby and senior Charlie Socia will all return to comprise last season’s midfield, while senior Jenny Shaba, junior Katie Bounds, red shirt sophomore Olivia Emery and sophomore Kendra Stauffer will once again provide their services to GVSU’s attack.

“I think the back line is still the teams strongest line, as it was last year, but the offense has a lot of promise,” Wesley said. “As the spring season goes on, we’ll continue to work on communicating up top, staying organized as a team, moving the ball efficiently, and getting extra goals so we can secure wins for our team.”

GVSU will play again Friday against Western Michigan University, and will continue to build into the fall where there will be a new trophy at stake.

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To read the original post “Defending champs scrimmage at Spring Arbor”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

March 30, 2014 at 4:57 am

GV softball team cancels 13th game of season

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Pete Barrows
Assistant Sports Editor

 Every spring for 55 years, Major League Baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell would open each season reciting a stanza known as the “Song of the Turtle.”

“For, lo, the winter is past,” the poem begins. If only, for the sake of the Grand Valley State University softball team left patiently waiting inside, it held true.

In accordance to the lingering residual affects of one of the harshest Michigan winters in decades, the Lakers have already been forced to cancel 13 games this season and have not played a single inning of softball since returning home from a spring trip to Florida more than two weeks ago.

“We had seasons that have started with a tough couple of first two weeks, and eventually if we get going here, we’ll be alright, but it’s still so cold,” GVSU head coach Doug Woods said. “We’ve shoveled snow on our field three times now this season in hopes of getting out to play.

“Usually teams get blisters from taking batting practice. We get them from using shovels.”

There is a chance that a handful of the postponed games could be made up later in the season, although with Michigan weather in mind, there’s also a chance there could be more cancellations still to come.

Barring conditions, GVSU (11-4) will travel to Canton, Ohio, to return to the diamond at 1 p.m. Saturday with a doubleheader against Walsh University.

The Lakers are also scheduled to extend the road trip with a twinbill against Northwood University on Sunday, and if all goes according to plan, the season will resume as originally scheduled from there.

“This is my sixth year here, and this is the most difficult start to the spring season that I’ve seen,” GVSU Assistant Sports Information Director DJ Foster said. “The girls played indoors in late February, they played almost a dozen games down in Florida in early March and played well, but they haven’t played again since.

“There is going to be three weeks in between games – it feels like months ago – and they haven’t practiced outside at all. That’s not unique to them – a lot of the teams in the Midwest haven’t gotten outside, either – but it makes it tough to bounce back from long absences of play.”

In most seasons, the Lakers play in the range of 45 to 50 games in the regular season, although there have been years where there hasn’t been a single cancellation.

As it stands for now, GVSU will play in the range of 30 to 35 contests before entering postseason play, and it won’t play at home until a doubleheader against Wayne State University on April 11.

The shortened season aside, the Lakers continue to plug through daily practice sessions inside the Kelly Family Sports Center.

Aspirations of returning to the NCAA Division II World Series tournament in Woods’s final season, like the snow, have not fully melted away as the team waits for flowers to appear on the Earth, the singing of birds and the voice of the turtle to be heard, and for shovels to be replaced, once and for all, with bats.

“There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but you try to work through it the best that you can, and stay sharp by your practices – that’ll be especially important this season,” Woods said. “On offense, we’ve done a lot of hitting, and we’ve also gone off our live pitching in the cages to keep the pitchers working, too. The defensive end might be a little more of a struggle because you don’t get into game situations much, but we try to simulate all of it the best that we can, even if it’s not quite the same indoors.

“As for the schedule, this team is certainly going to appreciate home games more when we get them, but none of our objectives change; every game is still important. The more games you play, your skills should improve, and we’re not going to have that many games this year to work with, but to be successful, you always have to make every trip, every game, every throw and every swing you do get count. That’s our focus everyday.”

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To read the original post “GV softball team cancels 13th game of season”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

March 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Timely hitting leads to split for GV baseball

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Lakers blast Mercyhurst 9-4 but lose late to TNU 4-3


Pete Barrows
Assistant Sports Editor

In the game of baseball, a sport where every step along the base path counts the same — walk or jog, as long as the trip ends up back at home in a run — it’s not always where a team puts its hits, but where it doesn’t.

For instance, with no outs and none on in the bottom of the second inning of the first game of a double-header hosted in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday afternoon, senior slugger Giancarlo Brugnoni stepped to the plate for the No. 11 ranked Grand Valley State University baseball team.

Five pitches later, Brugnoni found his way to first with a walk.12507_kevin_zak_baseball_rgbo

“The whole season so far, we’ve done a very good job of scoring early,” he said. “Through the first five innings, we’re destroying things and did so in both games Saturday, but we tapered off toward the end. When we get on a roll as a team, we’re very efficient, but if we can create or sustain those rolls more frequently, we’d be even more dangerous.”

Senior Taylor Banks followed with a single to center to push Brugnoni to second, before junior Aaron Overbeck fired a three-run shot over the left-field gate to break the 0-0 tie. Banks, Brugoni and Overbeck all reached base differently, although each scored a run apiece in the sequence.

Senior Ariel Aracena-Sanchez continued the second-inning stretch by reaching base on balls, as Brugnoni had before him, and then swiped second on a steal. Freshman Joel Schipper and Aracena-Sanchez then both advanced on a wild pitch, and Schipper, following Aracena-Sanchez’s lead, stole a base of his own to set the stage.

With runners on second and third, junior Mike Nadratowski singled through a right-field gap to score Aracena-Sanchez, and the cycle began again. Junior leadoff hitter Jesse Abel walked, Nadratowski advanced to second, Brugnoni singled to right center to score two more runs, and junior Jamie Potts singled to right center to score another run and advance Brugnoni, who scored an unearned run a batter later off another errant throw.

The Lakers ran cyclically, from walk-to-hit to steal-to-score, to produce eight runs along an assembly line of production and finished as it had begun. With Brugnoni. With a glance of the bigger overarching picture in mind. With the right hits in the right places by the right people at the right time.

“I don’t know if it’s a mindset that we have to go out there to score early, but we need to change that mindset from ‘we put up eight runs, that’s a good start and lead to play with’ to ‘we put up eight runs, now lets try to put up eight more runs,‘” he said. “We’ve been doing a good job of scoring, have won our close games and haven’t gotten comfortable or complacent late in games, but we just need to keep scoring often.

“The ball got hung up in the air a bit in the bigger park, but we hit well the entire trip despite; the trick was the timing. In the first game, we got our hits with men in scoring position. In the second game, we missed hits with guys on and got hits when it really didn’t matter.”

Mercyhurst University (8-4) compiled a run of its own and rallied with four runs in the sixth inning, but the damage was already done. GVSU used its early eight-run second inning to take control of the game early, and a stout stable of arms late to lockdown the victory.

The Lakers took the opening matchup 9-4, and starter Patrick Kelly was awarded with his first win of the season after allowing only six hits in seven innings of work. Potts and Nadratowski each had two hits and an RBI in the game, while Schipper drew three walks of the 10 that GVSU had as a team.

“We’ve done a nice job all year of getting out on top of teams, which gives us a nice edge, and hopefully we can keep that up, but we need to be able to stretch those leads, too,” Potts said. “The second game, we swung our bats well again, but the ball just didn’t fall our way. That was tough, but that’s how baseball goes sometimes.”

Later Saturday evening, another instance of the ‘it’s not where you put your hits, it’s where you don’t’ ideology came into play, only this time the phrase took on a different embodiment for the Lakers.

GVSU again scored early, as it has for most of the early season, and outhit host Trevecca Nazarene (16-3) 11-7, but it lost the nightcap 4-3 after nine innings of closely-contested play.

Junior Kevin Zak started the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single to push Abel home, but the Laker lead didn’t last as it had a game prior. Trevecca Nazarene took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third with an RBI triple-sacrifice fly combination, and then extended the lead to a 3-1 advantage with another sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.

Potts dug out a single in the top of the fifth, and with the assistance of a left-center single by senior Chris Ripple and a groundball fired through the left infield gap by Schipper, helped GVSU get a run back. Then with two outs gone, Brugnoni launched a towering solo home run shot, his fifth of the year, to square the game 3-3.

The tie score held until the bottom of the ninth, but this time, it was Trevecca Nazarene that took advantage of a lead-off walk. A single in to right-center field brought the winning run home and provided the Trojans with a walk-off victory.

“Baseball is a very tough sport to stay hot all season in,” coach Jamie Detillion said. “We do our best in practice to prepare our kids to have success in games, which we’ve seen some of, but sustaining that success is the challenge. Abel and Brugnoni have been very productive and steady thus far, as have been Potts, Overbeck and Kevin Zak, but stats don’t always tell the whole story.

“I feel we have a handful of other kids who will also be able to break out at some point – I really like our depth – and we’ll ride those hands as they come.”

Junior starter Aaron Jensen (2-2) used just 100 pitches to record a two-strikeout, seven-hit outing of work in eight innings, but he took the narrow loss on the mound. The offense was again fueled by Potts, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored, Brugnoni, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Abel, who also went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

The Lakers (9-5) will return north to embark on the GLIAC season with a twin-bill against Hillsdale College (2-12) scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Davenport University’s indoor facility. GVSU will then host Wayne State University (11-4) for a three-game stand at the same venue beginning 4 p.m. Saturday.

“We have five close losses, all to good teams, at this point in the season,” Detillion said. “We’ve remained competitive, but we need to minimize mistakes as a team in order to make the strides we need to make to become a championship caliber team. It should be a pretty big week with five conference games scheduled, so hopefully we’re prepared to go out and take care of business.”

assistantsports@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Timely hitting leads to split for GV baseball”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

March 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm