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ISSUE 121 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/18/2008

Softball sweeps

By Lyndel Owens
News Editor

Friday, April 18, 2008

With a homer and a fly ball caught bare-handed, there was something more than softballs in the air this Tuesday when the St. Olaf softball team gained two rousing victories over St. Kate's in St. Paul.

With two victories over the Wildcats on Tuesday, the team bounced back from defeat at the hands of St. Thomas on Friday. "We played a solid seven innings in all stages," catcher and team captain Emily Hennig '08 said. "Our focus was there, our intensity was there (and) the hits started falling. The St. Kate's games were a testament to strong teamwork."

On Friday, the University of St. Thomas softball machine tallied six runs in the bottom of the first inning at the Rosemount Dome in Rosemount, Minn., where the game was held due to weather concerns.

St. Olaf cracked the bats in the fourth inning with three singles and two runs, but the Tommies held the Oles from crossing home plate until the game's end. The St. Thomas softball team is regarded as the best in the MIAC and was ranked fifth in the nation when they played the Oles. The second game had a smaller victory margin but St. Thomas scored in each of the game's first three frames, winning with seven runs while St. Olaf countered with only one. UST's 9-2 and 7-1 victories over St. Olaf give them 42 straight league wins.

"When you play the fifth best team in the nation they're going to take advantage of any little error you make," Hennig said. "They're a good team."

St. Olaf's MIAC doubleheader with St. Kate's favored the Oles with 8-6 and 4-1 successes.

"We played two very close games the whole way through," Hennig said. "It's really the defense that won those games with a lot of runners on base."

Ali Berens '10 pumped out a combined 4-for-7 day with a game-winning homer in the first game, a triple, and two doubles. The Oles produced a striking 13 hits in the first game, led by Berens' and first-year Kjersten Speer's 3-for-4 efforts.

Though they trailed 5-4 after the fifth inning, the Oles bounced back in the sixth and seventh with two runs in each. Pitcher Erin Johnson '09 worked six innings while Natalie McNeff '11 secured a scoreless seventh inning.

In the second game against St. Kate's, pitcher Katie Truax '11 held tight with only two hits allowed and 11 strikouts. While pitching and defense held the Tommies at bay, the Ole offense didn't labor hard to score their four runs in the final inning as the Wildcats had six errors.

St. Olaf scored all their runs on just two hits, one from Berens and one from Speer. The St. Olaf defense was also a bit shaky, committing four errors behind Truax.

Hennig believes the games with St. Kate's indicate their future together.

"What was so great about the St. Kate's games was the synthesis of everyone's hard work," Hennig said. "These games everybody was doing something good and everybody was contributing. That's why we had the huge outcome that we did. I know that's something we can transfer to the rest of the season."

The Oles play Thursday at Carleton and host Augsburg Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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