Junior centerfielder Maria Zepeda belted three doubles on the day as the Forester softball team fell 3-2 in eight innings in the opener before prevailing 6-4 in game two against visiting University of Chicago on Monday.
Zepeda and the rest of the Foresters wore bright yellow t-shirts instead of their regular uniforms to honor Mia Gurevitz, their adopted teammate through the friends of Jaclyn Foundation. At just seven years of age, Mia lost her five-year battle with an inoperable brain tumor in October. Before the doubleheader began Lake Forest senior Sydney Gardner read a statement prepared by Forester softball alumni Nikki Miller and Aubrey Pendegraft recognizing the impact Mia had on the program during their five-year relationship.
After going down 1-2-3 in the opening frame, Lake Forest got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second. A leadoff single by senior second baseman Kat Beall was the only hit of the inning, unless you include the ball hitting the back of freshman designated player Shaye Gauthier on the first pitch she faced, putting Foresters on first and second. A groundout moved the runners up a base and Beall beat the throw home on a fielder's choice ground ball to first off the bat of junior third baseman Alyssa Grimm.
Gardner started the third inning with a single, advanced to second on a groundout, and came around to score on a two-out single to left by junior rightfielder Abby King, making the score 2-0.
The Maroons, however, scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game and won it on a home run in the eighth.
Lake Forest sophomore pitcher Missy Dieckman-Meyer allowed just four of Chicago's eight base hits and did not allow an earned run, dropping her ERA this season to 1.40. She pitched the first six innings and then re-entered to get the Foresters out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth to keep the deficit at a single run.
The home team also took the early lead in the second inning of game two. Singles by Gauthier and junior Diamond Owens put runners on first and third with two outs and a wild pitch brought home the first run of the contest.
Chicago jumped on top with three runs in the top of the third but the Foresters pulled back to within one in the bottom of the inning. Zepeda led off with a double, advanced to third on a groundout to the shortstop, and scored on ground ball to first by King.
After scoring once each in the second and third innings, Lake Forest tied the score on sophomore catcher Sydney Wyatt's first home run of the year in the fourth and regained the lead in the fifth when sophomore first baseman Riley Frisbie singled in Zepeda, who had doubled for the third time on the day.
The visitors pulled even in the top of the sixth on their fourth unearned run of the doubleheader but the Foresters scored for the fifth consecutive inning to take back the lead for good. With two outs, Owens beat out a swinging bunt that rolled just a few feet in front of home plate, stole second base, and came home on a line drive double to left-center by sophomore pinch-hitter Haylee Sherlund. Zepeda followed with an RBI-single, her third hit of the contest, to close out the scoring.
Gauthier was in the circle for the Foresters and allowed just two earned runs in the complete game victory. She improved to 3-0 and joined Dieckman-Meyer with a 1.40 earned run average on the year.
Lake Forest is now 10-6 and Chicago 8-6 this spring.
The Foresters will begin Midwest Conference play with a home doubleheader against Ripon College on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.