Sophomore catcher Sydney Wyatt belted a grand slam and three other Foresters homered in the softball team's 4-1 and 9-4 victories over Grinnell College in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday. Lake Forest clinshed at least a share of the 2018 Midwest Conference title, the program's ninth in the last 17 years and 10th overall.
Wyatt's fourth round-tripper of the year broke a 1-1 tie in the second inning of game two and junior centerfielder Maria Zepeda led off the fourth with her second of the season. In the opener freshman shortstop Hannah Kalnicky cleared the fence for the third game in a row and senior leftfielder Sydney Gardner belted her third of the year later in the contest.
Kalnicky's fifth blast of 2018 came in the bottom of the first inning and followed a two-out double by Wyatt, who was 2-for-2 with a walk in the contest. After a solo home run from Grinnell cut the lead in half in the fourth, junior third baseman Alyssa Grimm led off the fifth with a base hit and trotted the rest of the way around the bases ahead of Gardner.
The insurance runs proved to be unnecessary as Forester sophomore Missy Dieckman-Meyer prevented the Pioneer offense from even threatening to score. Aside from the home run, she did not allow a runner to reach second base in the contest. Dieckman-Meyer struck out six batters and did not issue a walk while improving to 11-3 with a 1.60 earned run average on the year.
Just one of the four runs allowed by Forester junior pitcher Kyra Lenzi in game two was earned. She won her fourth consecutive decision to improve to 5-4 with a 1.48 earned run average this season.
The Foresters fell behind early when Grinnell plated a run in the bottom of the first inning but did not trail for long. Junior rightfielder Abby King doubled to lead off the top of the second and, three batters later, scored on an error by the Pioneer shortstop. Zepeda walked and senior second baseman Kat Beall was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Wyatt, who launched a 1-2 pitch over the center field fence to make the score 5-1.
King doubled for the third time on the day and scored on a base hit by Grimm in the third. The fourth inning included a leadoff homer by Zepeda and a two-run single by freshman first baseman Shaye Gauthier, which extended the Lake Forest advantage to 9-1.
Two Pioneer unearned runs in the fourth and another in the sixth accounted for the final score.
King was 3-for-4 in the game while Zepeda and Gauthier added two hits apiece.
Lake Forest is now 27-9 overall this season and 15-1 in MWC play while Grinnell fell to 21-10 overall and 10-6 in the league.
The Foresters have a two-game lead over Illinois College in the conference standings and will close out the regular season Sunday afternoon with a pair of games against visiting Knox College (8-24, 3-13 MWC). A victory in either contest would clinch the outright title for Lake Forest and the Foresters would host next weekend's four-team MWC Tournament.