After winning both games against Lewis University on April 2, the University of Indianapolis softball team moved to the top of the conference standings, tied with Rockhurst University.
The Flyers were tied with Rockhurst and the Greyhounds prior to the weekend, something Head Softball Coach Melissa Frost said made the stakes much higher.
“…It’s definitely going to be a knock down drag out type of weekend and something we are really looking forward to,” Frost said. “Anytime you’re playing for first place in a conference, there is a lot on the line.
The Hounds won the first game 1-0, with freshman pitcher Lauren Honkomp pitching her second consecutive shut-out.
Freshman Cathy Skaggs scored the only run of the game off of hits from junior outfield Jessie Noone, junior catcher/infield Julia Liceaga and senior infield Katie Kelly.
The second game was just as close, with the Hounds holding on to win 5-4. Senior utility Natalie Lalich earned her tenth homerun of the season, bringing in three runs. Honkomp put two more on the board with her two-run single.
The day before, the team went 1-1 against University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
After five innings, infield/outfield Taylor Podschweit hit a triple, also bringing infield Tayler Weck to end the game 2-0. Honkomp walked only one Ranger in her first shutout.
Parkside came back more aggressive in the second game with three multi-run innings and took the 6-2 victory. Podschweit and Skaggs brought in the two Hound runs.
Previously, the Hounds played three doubleheaders March 22-26. Frost said that she was proud of the women’s 4-2 record on the week.
“I think we had an extremely long week,” she said. “We played nine games in Florida in a matter of five days and then two days of flying. And we had conference, four games before that, four games after and two games in the middle. So we’ve been going nonstop here for a while. So I was happy with the outcome of last week, winning four games after a road trip. We’ll take it.”
Frost earned her 500th win in the first game of doubleheader against Ohio Dominican University on March 22. She said she credits this accomplishment to the great team, staff and players that have been a part of her program.
“500 wins in the GLVC is just a testament of where our program has started and where we’ve come and the great people that have helped build this program,” she said.
Later in the week, the team took on William Jewell College on March 25 followed by the Rockhurst University Hawks the next day.
The team went 1-1 against the Hawks and only allowed two runs in both games. The women won the first game against Rockhurst with a last-minute effort in the top of the seventh, where hits by Liceaga and Kelly scored three runs to overcome the Hawks, 3-1. Honkomp racked up seven strikeouts and allowed just two hits, crediting her with her 17th win.
Frost said that she was impressed with the all-freshman pitching staff and the time and effort they have dedicated to the team.
“We’ve had a lot of production from Lauren Honkomp. She’s been our go-to pitcher with [Freshman pitcher] Crystal Sicard,” Frost said. “They both have just really bought into the program, and just from day one. And I think those results have shown the willingness to change and willingness to find what will make the team successful, and I think that’s a huge contributing factor.”
In the second game, a sacrifice fly that scored one run was enough to secure Rockhurst’s victory over the Hounds 1-0. Sicard threw much of the game before Honkomp came in for the relief. Honkomp accounted for the Hound’s lone strikeout of the game, while senior infield Tayler Weck earned two of the three hits for the team.
The previous day, the team battled the Cardinals. Despite the Hounds’ fifth inning run rule win 11-0, the Cardinals overcame the Hounds in the second game 6-3.
Turner recorded her first grand slam as a Hound after transferring from DI Southeast Missouri State University this season. Freshman pitcher Lindsey Bowers finished off the game, pitching the last three outs for a perfect last inning.
The matchup took a turn in the second game, when the Cardinals came for revenge, scoring five runs in the second inning. The Hounds attempted to catch up by scoring three runs in the fourth and fifth innings. William Jewell scored one more run, taking home the final game of the day. The loss snapped the Hounds’ previous 11-game winning streak.
Kelly said the team has changed since a batch of fresh faces joined this year, but the goal to get into the NCAA World Series tournament remains constant.
“The team has been a lot different because there are so many young girls. I think we have to have a bigger mentality and get that hunger for knowing we can get to the world series and knowing we can do it together,” she said.
The women are set for the annual MDA game against the University of Illinois Springfield on April 15. The team fundraises for MDA and for Greyhound softball alumnus Megan Slightom’s nephew Liam Ealy, who suffers from muscular dystrophy.
“We invite everyone out to come and celebrate MDA, buy some tee shirts, make a donation or whatever you can do,” Frost said. “This is a cause that we want to give back to. This is a huge part of our program and a big part of our heart goes to Liam’s family.”
The team will travel to Louisville, Ky., to battle the Bellarmine University Knights on April 8.