Softball looks to make a statement

Joyce Balash, Sports Editor

Photo courtesy of Steve Woltmann
Sophomore Dara Sanders has been an offensive and defensive threat for the Flyers.

After ending the 2016 season with a losing record and missing the conference tournament, the softball team is looking to find more success this year.

With four seniors returning, they know how it feels to come up short and refuse to have a repeat of last year’s campaign.

The season started with the Lewis Division II Midwest Region Dome Invitational in Rosemont, Ill. At the Invitational, the team took their first wins of the season, ending the weekend with a record of 3-2, only falling to Findlay and Wayne State.

After the tournament, the Flyers were off to Florida for the Dot Richardson Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. The week brought them eight wins and four losses.

This is the best they have done in the early season under head coach Becky Pearl.

After coming off of a great starting run, Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) play started and the Flyers were back on the road.

When conference rankings were released, the Flyers were disappointed to see that they were ranked 14 out of 16 teams.

“After we saw the conference rankings, we knew we had work to do,” said senior Carolyn Nojiri, an outfielder, who has dedicated four years to this program and consistently been an asset on the team.

Quincy was the first opponent and the team ended the double-header split with the Hawks in the GLVC opener. Seniors Carly Jaworski and Nojiri combined for six hits and five runs.

Sophomore Dara Sanders was key in the win, allowing just five hits and striking out five batters in the six-inning game. The Flyers came out on top, winning 8-0 in the first game.

In the second game of the double header the Flyers faced defeat, losing 2-1 to the Hawks.

After Quincy, the team headed to Missouri to play Truman State. It was there that the team picked up two more victories, 3-2 and 6-5. Both games were come-from-behind wins and took place in extra innings.

Sanders was again a key asset in both of these wins, getting two hits and only allowing two runs and eight hits while she was in the circle.

Behind the plate, the Flyers ended the match-up against the Bulldogs. Junior Kaylee Prieto went 2-for-4 behind the plate and hit the game-tying RBI in the seventh inning. Nojiri added a pair of base hits for the Flyers.

After eight innings, the team was able to secure the victory.
Game two was another win by just one run.

Sanders earned the win for the Flyers, throwing seven scoreless innings, allowing nine hits and striking out three batters.

Prieto and Nojiri each scored twice. Sophomore Carley Maupin also added a run after going 3-for-5 behind the plate.

It was a battle against the Bulldogs, but the Flyers walked away from the games with two more wins in their pocket.

“We knew we had to pull upsets to make a statement,” said Nojiri. “I think we proved ourselves in the first weekend by going 3-1 and sweeping Truman.”

The Flyers head to Allendale, Mich. March 28 for a nonconference matchup against the Lakers of Grand Valley State.

Joyce Balash
Joyce Balash is a junior public relations/advertising major with minors in marketing and organizational communication. This is her first year as sports editor for The Flyer. She is also a member of the Lewis women’s volleyball team.

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