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ISSUE 119 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/21/2006

Fastpitch sweeps twice

By Ryan Maus
Staff Writer

Friday, April 21, 2006

In a season that began with so much negativity (most notably a 5-13 start), it’'s about time the St. Olaf women'’s softball team received a little recognition for their improved play of late.

The Ole women gained their second consecutive sweep on Tuesday afternoon, beating the Macalester Scots 16-1 and 9-1 in St. Paul. The two victories pushed St. Olaf’'s win streak to four, their longest of the season, and also improved the team'’s MIAC record to 5-7 (11-15 overall).

St. Olaf has now won six of its past eight games, with the two losses coming against the nation'’s top-ranked team - -– back-to-back NCAA Division III national champion St. Thomas. The Oles also swept Martin Luther College on April 10.

"“I think that our recent improvement came in part due to the fact that we decided that we just need to relax and enjoy the game,”" Laura Little '‘06 said. "Previously, we were putting too much pressure on ourselves."”

On Tuesday, the team displayed one of the most important characteristics of a successful program: beating the opponents that you should beat, and doing it convincingly. Entering Tuesday’'s action, the Scots sat in last place in the MIAC with a 1-11 conference record and a 3-27 mark overall.

Starring in the game-one victory were Emily Hennig '’08 and Rose Keimig '’06. Hennig, leading the team in nearly every offensive category this season, went 3-4 with four RBI and four runs scored, while Keimig also collected three hits and drove in four runs. Jenny Beiersdorf ’'07 made her first appearance of the season on the mound and earned the win.

“"Our defense has definitely improved,”" Little said. "“[Rose] Keimig has been steller at third base, and our offense has improved, as [Emily] Hennig has been hitting the ball really well.”"

In game two, Hennig picked up three more hits to bring her team-leading total to 27, and Maggie Roscher '’06 went 4-4.

Last Thursday, the Oles earned a home sweep of a respectable Concordia-Moorhead team, who entered the game with a 5-5 conference record.

Superb pitching was the theme in the pair of close 3-2 victories, with Bekki Hagen '’06 going all nine innings until Bethany Kinney '’08 drove in Keimig with the game-winning run. The game-two victory lasted the conventional seven innings, with catcher Lindsay Weir '’06 and Roscher driving in runs to give Laura Torgerson ’'06 her fourth victory of the year.

Next up, St. Olaf will take on fourth-place St. Kate’'s on Thursday before coming home to square off with Hamline on Saturday afternoon. The weekend MIAC doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m. at Mabel Shirley Field.

“"Of the games we have remaining, the team goal is to be competitive in every game we have remaining,”" Little said. “"We have the physical capabilities to succeed, but we can’'t afford to take ourselves out of games by making mental mistakes."”

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