Foresters Win Twice at Lawrence, Close in on MWC Title

Photos by Maxie Mottlowitz
Photos by Maxie Mottlowitz

Senior pitcher Jessi Werner became the program's career leader in shutouts and freshman centerfielder Maria Zepeda belted a home run for her fourth hit of the day as the Lake Forest College softball team prevailed 6-0 and 10-1 in six innings at Lawrence University on Saturday.

Werner allowed just five hits and struck out two batters in the opener for her third shutout of the season and the 16th of her career. She had been tied for first in team history with Nancy Findeisen, who blanked 15 opponents from 2001-03.

Werner, who is now 14-4 with a 2.30 earned run average, was able to pitch with a lead from the beginning as the visitors plated a pair of runs in the opening inning. Senior catcher Alex Hemmer scored the first after singling to left with one out, advancing to second on a base hit by senior third baseman Kaleigh Ambrose, and heading home on a double by senior first baseman Sally Snarski. Sophomore shortstop Kat Beall following with a single to score Ambrose and stake Werner to an early two-run advantage.

Sophomore outfielders Callie Schaser and Sydney Gardner drew one-out walks in the second and both runners scored on a double by Ambrose to make the score 4-0.

An error in the top of the fourth allowed Hemmer to reach third base and Ambrose followed with a sacrifice fly for her third run batted in of the contest.

A double by Zepeda and a two-out single by Schaser in the fifth plated the final run of the game.

Ambrose and Beall each had a pair of hits in the opener and two more in game two. Snarski and Zepeda tallied three hits apiece as the Foresters out-hit the Vikings 14-7 in the late game.

Hemmer once again started the scoring in the top of the first inning. She doubled with one out, advanced to second on a single by Ambrose, and came home on a Snarski groundout. Hemmer also led off the third with a triple and scored on another sacrifice fly by Ambrose to make the score 2-0.

A two-out double by Gardner in the fourth plated senior second baseman Vasi Panos with the third run of the contest.

Lake Forest broke the game open with three runs in the fifth. The rally started with a base hit by Ambrose and a Snarski double. Beall then singled in Ambrose and a Zepeda double plated Snarski. Beall scored the third run on an errant pickoff throw by the Lawrence catcher.

After the Vikings scored their first run of the doubleheader in the bottom of the fifth, the Foresters added four more to their tally in the sixth. Hemmer drew a one-out walk, went to second on a two-out single by Snarski, and came home on a base hit by Beall. It was Hemmer's fifth run and Beall's fourth hit of the doubleheader. Zepeda then belted her fourth home run of the year over the centerfield fence to make the score 10-1. 

Lake Forest junior pitcher Jenny McTague scattered seven singles and a pair of walks while striking out five. She improved to 8-6 on the season.

The doubleheader sweep improved the Foresters' overall record on the year to 22-11 and their Midwest Conference mark to 16-2. Lawrence fell to 17-13-1 overall and 10-7 in the league.

Lake Forest is in first place in the league standings, a game ahead of Monmouth College, and can clinch its third consecutive MWC title at St. Norbert College on Sunday. The final doubleheader of the regular season will begin at 1:00 p.m. Monmouth plays twice at Carroll University and the Foresters would most likely own the tiebreaker should the teams have the same record at the end of the day.