The Oracle

Hamline splits series with Augsburg

Softball returns for game two win after initial loss to Augsburg.

Karissa Thomson, Reporter

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Another cold weekend for softball couldn’t keep the Pipers away from a win in game two of the doubleheader against Augsburg on Saturday. Losing the first game 5-7, the Pipers came back swinging to win the second game 6-0.

Going into the weekend series, head coach Jim Rubbelke was looking to see his team play consistently and to their potential.

“The biggest thing I’d like to see right now is just consistency of playing as well as I think we can play,” Rubbelke said.

The Pipers fell short of finding consistency in game one.  Despite junior pitcher Casey Anderson hitting a homerun in the third inning, they were still plagued by pop outs and failed attempts at stealing bases.

The score was tight throughout. It stood at 1-1 after the third, 2-2 after the fourth, 3-3 after the sixth and 4-4 after the seventh inning. Augsburg took hold of the eighth inning, finalizing the score to a 5-7 Piper loss, a result of overthrows, bobbled plays and the Auggies hitting to the gaps.

Senior first baseman Chelsea Koehn wasn’t impressed with the outcome of game one.

“…every time we play [Augsburg], they show up and they play. They play their best games when they play us it seems like,” Koehn said. “I think we’re just here to play and Augsburg’s another team we should beat.”

The second game told an entirely different story. The Auggies popped up all over the field as a product of junior Sarah DeMars’ pitching. She relieved Anderson in the eighth inning of game one and pitched the second game in its entirety, striking out 3 batters total. Senior shortstop Jamie Rubbelke, Koehn, outfielders senior Amanda Orrell and first-year Delaney Kohler, as well as junior second baseman Mary-Clare Couillard all had catches resulting in outs.

Several walks, strategic bunting and placed hits mended the Pipers’ hitting in game two. A home run by Casey Anderson also added to the hitting success, her second of the series and fourth of the season. An all around bigger effort from the Pipers led them to the 6-0 victory, one that Koehn was proud of.

“Overall we hit a lot better the second game than we did the first game. I think attitude is a big thing. Our upperclassmen, our juniors and seniors, we definitely stepped up in the second game and were able to lead the team,” Koehn said. “We definitely had a lot more hits. And we were having fun and playing hard.”

With a current overall record of 22-14 and with their latest conference record of 15-7, the Pipers are playoff-bound next weekend following doubleheaders this week against Northwestern and UW-River Falls. While playoffs can be intimidating, Koehn isn’t too concerned.

“We’re going in with a positive attitude and hoping to take four games out of there and take home the championship. That’s our goal,” she said.

Coach Rubbelke knows the competition the team will face but is confident they’ll perform.

“It’s definitely been probably the best conference we’ve had overall since I’ve been here for nine years,” Rubbelke said. “There are some teams at the top that are definitely gonna be good and you know from top to bottom, even the bottom half of our league has some good players now. You used to be able to know you could go and play sort of okay and beat these teams and it’s not like that anymore. You have to go in and play well every day to beat no matter who it is.”

Rubbelke also reflected on how the team can stand out in their tough conference.

“I truly believe that we could be the best team in the conference, but yet we have 6 losses. And part of that is our conference is very very tough. Every team has a pitcher that could possibly beat us but at the same time I really think there’s something more out there. We can play better than we have as far as overall” Rubbelke said.

MIAC play-offs start May 6, and both Rubbelke and Koehn are ready.

“We’ve been very successful with our teams and our players and you know [we are] very happy about that. Obviously we still don’t have a banner to hang though which is something we’d like to do someday” said Rubbelke.

Koehn said, “It’s been a great season. Great team to be a part of. It’s sad that it’s ending, but you know I look forward to coming and watching them next year and can’t wait for playoffs next weekend.”

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Hamline splits series with Augsburg