Photo Courtesy of Photo Bureau
The Luther Softball Team went undefeated in their second four game weekend series at the Rochester Regional Dome on Mar. 7 and 8, pushing their season record to 8-0.
These victories came after Luther swept their first four game series from Feb. 28-Mar. 1.
Game 1 – Luther 9 Augustana 1 (5)
Luther beat Augustana College 9-1 in the first game. After Augustana took an early one run lead in the top of the third. But Luther responded with nine unanswered runs.
Courtney Cooper (‘21) threw a complete game, allowing only one run on five hits with four strikeouts for her fourth win of the season. Sydney Schultz (‘23) went two-for-two with four RBIs, and Annie See (‘20) went two-for-four with two RBIs.
Game 2- Luther 8 Gustavus 3 (9)
Luther beat Gustavus Adolphus College 8-3 in extra innings. With the score locked at 2-2 coming out of the seventh inning, Luther put up six runs in the top of the ninth for the win.
Abbey Gapinski (‘22) started the game for the Norse, allowing only one run on four hits through five innings. Courtney Cooper came out for the last four innings in relief, allowing two unearned runs on no hits and four strikeouts for her fifth win of the year.
Hanna Halverson (‘21), singled to tie the game in the sixth and sent it to extra Innings. She finished one-for-four with two walks and two RBIs. Morgan Hogenson (’22) added three hits of her own in five at bats in the win.
Game 3 – Luther 11 Lawrence 1
The Norse started game three with two runs on three hits in the first inning, and went on to beat Lawrence University, 11-1. Hogenson went three- for-four with three RBIs and a run scored while See went four-for-five with an RBI as well.
Kendra Cooper (‘22) won her second game of the season, allowing one run on six hits in five innings of work. She added five strikeouts to only two walks.
Game 4 – Luther 8 Ripon 0 (5)
Luther finished out the dome games with an 8-0 win against Ripon College.
Gapinski pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit with six strikeouts and no walks. Sam Thompson (‘23) came on in relief to throw two no-hit innings. See went two-for-three with three RBIs.
After going undefeated in their first eight games of the season, Halverson emphasized how excited she is to be playing after the long offseason.
“Our series went very well, it was fun to finally compete in games,” Halverson said. “[In the offseason] we were able to learn a lot about our teammates and ourselves, but there is only so much you can do [in practice.]”
Halverson went 13-for-30 in the first eight games in Rochester. She leads the team in at-bats, and is second in hits and runs scored.
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Head Women’s Softball Coach Renae Hartl was proud of the results in Rochester, and is excited to begin playing outdoors.
“We have been training hard together since the first week of September, on the field and in the weight room,” Hartl said. “Although all of our training has been inside during the winter, I think the team is going to be even better when we can be outside. We have some of the fastest outfielders in the region and it is hard to showcase that aspect when you are stuck inside.”
Infielder Elsa Skeie (‘21) believes that the team’s increased preperation time and focus on game-planning has contributed to their success. She mentioned how the team added preseason practices so they would be even more prepared.
“We approach each competitor by knowing our strengths and know how we are going to utilize them in the upcoming game,” Skeie said. “All of our opponents pose challenges to us, but it is how we rely on our training and skill towin.”
Luthers top performers are among the best in the American Rivers Conference, with Hogenson and See leading the ARC in batting average, and Gapinski second in the conference in earned run average.
“We have an excellent senior duo in [See and Paige Timmerman (‘20)], who were both asked to train at new positions as seniors. They are both excelling at a high level already on defense and they are leading us offensively,” Hartl said. “Our pitching staff of Gapinski, Kendra Cooper, Thompson, and Courtney Cooper will be one of the best group of hurlers in the entire Midwest.”
Luther softball will continue their season at the PFX Spring Games in Clermont, Florida over spring break.