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ISSUE 118 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 4/8/2005

Fastpitch Fires Away

By Marjorie Thirlby
Sports Editor

Friday, April 8, 2005

The St. Olaf fastpitch team has finally begun swinging hard this season. At the beginning of spring break, the ladies headed out to Orange, Calif. to complete the SunWest Softball Tournament at Hart Park. Their challengers included Eastern Oregon, St. Scholastica, Northwest Christian, Williams, Dana College, MIT and SUNY IT. Unfortunately, the beginning of the Oles’ tournament ended with five loses in a row.

The competition began on March 20, when the women were defeated by Eastern Oregon 13-2 and St. Scholastica 2-1. On the second day, Northwest Christian and Williams crushed the Oles 10-4 and 10-0, respectively.

“It was our first games on dirt so there were a lot of things to work out,” Lindsay Weier ‘06 said. “Playing outside on an actual field for the first time is totally different then taking balls inside.”

The Oles indeed got used to the dirt; during the third day of tournament play, they transformed their losing streak to a winning streak of three games. Although they lost to Dana College 5-3 they came out with a close win against MIT, 7-6, which carried into the final day of tournament play, in which they defeated MIT for the second time, 9-6 and SUNY IT 6-1.

Apparently, the Oles had a resurge of energy, determination and focus. Winning their last three games certainly had a positive influence on the team. “Towards the end of the trip we had some real game experience under our belt and became more comfortable on the field,” Weier said. “We got the nervousness out of our systems and started playing the way we knew we could.”

After the SunWest Tournament, the Oles returned to school to face their first dose of Minnesota competition. The squad held their home opener March 31 against Martin Luther College. The ladies split a doubleheader, losing the first time, and winning the second. In the first game, Becca Hering, Susan Pappathopoulos and Rachel Zahn of Luther College all had two hits and the Oles were only able to take home one run. In the second game, pitcher Bekki Hagen ‘06 led the team with a six-hit, one run game in three innings. Emily Henning ‘08 also played well, finishing 2-for-2 with a RBI single in the first inning and a run in the fifth.

The Oles second MIAC challenger was St. Kate’s on April 4 in St. Paul. The Oles had success similar to their previous game, splitting against the Wildcats by losing their first game and winning their second. In the first game, Callie Bobseen led St. Kate’s, finishing 2-for-3 with three RBI. In the second game, the Oles came out very strong, ready to defend the Wildcats. St. Olaf scored four runs in the first two innings, finishing with a 4-3 win. Lindsay Weier ’06 went 2-for-4 with two RBI and pitcher Laura Torgerson ’06 struck out 10 batters from St. Kate’s.

On Monday night, the Oles headed to Morris, Minn to play against the University of Minnesota-Morris. They came out strong and pulled out two huge wins, 12-3 and 11-1 in five innings.

“We came out attacking and didn’t stop,”Weier said.

Considering the recent success of the fastpitch team, prospects are looking high for taking in more wins. The ladies plan to keep working hard at practice and approach their future games with confidence and intensity.

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