Softball team bounces back during busy week

The softball team capped off a very busy week with a three-game winning streak. It finished 6-2 in four double-headers played in five days.
Coach Brenda Volk said her team went through some highs and lows, but she was satisfied with the overall performance.
“It was a long week, but I was happy with how our girls played, especially when they stayed loose and were having fun,” Volk said.

Sophomore Kelly McGrail hits a double against Cardinal Stritch. McGrail was 2-2 in the game Sunday, hitting two doubles. The Warhawks took both games, defeating the Crusaders 4-1 and 8-0. The ’Hawks are 21-5 this season and 9-1 at home. Photo by Andrew Smith.

The week started with a pair of shutout victories thanks to junior pitcher Katie Boyle and freshman pitcher Bekka Houda.
The ’Hawks graduated All-American pitcher Jessica Stang last year. Volk and All-American catcher Emily Epifanio said this year’s pitching trio of Boyle, Houda and junior Amy Christopher has been very reliable.
“Having Jessica as a go-to pitcher for four years was nice,” Volk said. “But this year we have three starters who all are capable of winning and throwing strikes.”
Epifanio also said the group’s ability to throw strikes while keeping opposing hitters off-balance has been the strongest attribute of the ’Hawks.
After the victories over the Titans pushed the ’Hawks’ WIAC record to 4-0, the team kept rolling with a 10-2 battering of the University of Dubuque.
Sophomore outfielder Samie Seamon was perfect at the plate in game one of the double-header, going 3 for 3 with a double, triple and home run. She finished the game with six RBIs.
The ’Hawks first stumble was in game two against Dubuque. The team lost 8-7 and almost pulled off a comeback, scoring two runs in the final half inning.
Then the ’Hawks traveled to play the University of Chicago. Epifanio said the Maroons were the toughest team the ’Hawks faced all week.
The Maroons won the first game 5-1, holding the ’Hawks to just four hits. Volk said her team was not relaxed in the first game and played with an angry intensity rather than a fun, relaxed intensity.
The ’Hawks bounced back in game two, winning 6-2 behind 13 hits and a complete game performance from Houda.
Epifanio said the difference in game two was the team’s relaxed and fun attitude.
Finally, the ’Hawks finished off the weekend with a sweep of Cardinal Stritch University. Volk’s team won 4-1 in the first game behind the pitching of Boyle and Houda.
In game two, the ’Hawks got the pitching and hitting they needed. Cristopher pitched a shutout and her teammates knocked in eight runs on 14 hits to end a long week on a high note.
The ’Hawks’ 6-2 week improved their overall record to 21-5. They are currently ranked No. 9 in the nation heading into the heart of the conference season.