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ISSUE 118 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/15/2005

Softball swings short of win

By Tremaine Veerstad
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 15, 2005

The St. Olaf fastpitch team started off with a string of losses, countered with a string of wins and has now found themselves sitting on a teeter-totter. In the past 12 games, the Oles are an even .500, going 6-6. After a pair of losses to Gustavus, the Oles have split with their last two competitors, Iowa Conference foe Luther College and St. Ben’s.

Conference-leading Gustavus swept the Oles 10-2 and 8-2 in MIAC action. Consistent scoring from the Gusties dug a hole too deep for St. Olaf to climb out of. In game one, first baseman Chelsey Rodd ‘06 went 2 for 3. Stepping up at the plate for the Oles in game two was second baseman Emily Hennig ’08, who also went 2 for 3.

The following day the Oles had another home doubleheader against Luther. In the first contest, Laura Torgerson ’06 pitched a solid eight innings, but the Norse slipped by the Oles 4-2 in extra innings.

The second game of the afternoon was another low-scoring contest between the two teams. With Bekki Hagen ’06 on the mound and a series of solid hits from third baseman Rose Keimig ‘06 and Rodd ‘06, the Oles took the second game 3-2.

“Our team has made huge improvements this year,” Hagen said. “We have come out aggressive with our bats. We can always hit more, but we are starting to believe in ourselves and it is really showing.”

On April 9, the Oles jumped back into MIAC play and traveled north to face St. Ben’s. Game one of the afternoon was a tight battle between the two squads, with the Blazers edging out the Oles by one run. Hennig had another solid game going 2 for 3 and Lindsay Weier ‘06 added a pair of RBI.

The Oles got off to a hot start in the second game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead after one inning. Weier led the way for the Oles by going 3-4 at the plate and Hagen picked up another win on the mound, striking out nine.

“This past week, we settled down and played well for not just the length of an entire game, but an entire doubleheader,” Henning said. “We nearly swept both Luther and St. Ben's, both of which are very good programs.”

In the last few weeks the Oles have already shown great improvement from last year. Already, the Oles have won more games than in the whole 2004 season, and a bulk of the regular season still remains – during which Oles can earn a playoff spot. The Oles have great opportunities in the next few weeks to turn more heads and pick up more wins.

“We are really looking forward to coming out aggressive, staying aggressive and sweeping teams,” Hagen said. We have been splitting with teams, but we know that we can play any team and so we are looking forward to taking two victories instead of just one victory and a ‘should have.’”

Now 4-4 in MIAC play and 11-11 overall, the Oles take on crosstown rival Carleton with bragging rights on the line and a chance to move over .500 is today at 4 p.m. at Mabel Shirley Field in Northfield.

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