Foresters Sweep Knox, Finish First in MWC

Photo by Katie Frisbie
Photo by Katie Frisbie

Junior rightfielder Abby King was one of two Foresters to homer in both games as the Lake Forest College softball team defeated visiting Knox College 10-2 and 7-4 on Sunday.

King's first home run of the season was a two-run shot that gave the home team a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the first inning of the opener. Junior centerfielder Maria Zepeda led off the frame with a double and scored on senior second baseman Kat Beall's second round-tripper of the season. After the first out of the inning, freshman shortstop Hannah Kalnicky reached on an error and jogged home ahead of King.

Lake Forest added to its lead with three runs on another home run in the second. Senior leftfielder Sydney Gardner hit a one-out single up the middle, stole second, and advanced to third on a groundout. After a walk to Beall, sophomore catcher Sydney Wyatt cleared the fence for the fifth time this year.

The Foresters plated the final three runs of the contest in the bottom of the fourth. Zepeda led off with an infield single, stole second, and advanced to third when the throw from the catcher to second got away. Beall singled her in and, two batters later, Kalnicky cleared the fence for the team's fourth home run of the game.

Sophomore pitcher Missy Dieckman-Meyer worked around a one-out walk in the top of the fifth to preserve the eight-run lead and end the game. Dieckman-Meyer allowed just three base hits while striking out seven in four innings of relief. The victory raised her record on the season to 12-3 and her earned run average dropped to 1.54.

The first five batters in the Forester lineup were 9-for-12 with nine runs scored and 10 RBI in the contest.

Lake Forest took the early lead in game two when King singled in Beall in the bottom of the first inning.

After Knox tied the score in the top of the third, the Foresters scored twice in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice fly by freshman catcher Nicole Schussler and Kalnicky's team-high seventh home run of the season. She has now homered in four consecutive home games and in five of the last six contests overall.

King matched Kalnicky's two-homer day in the fifth and the home team tacked on three more runs in the sixth. Beall and Schussler had back-to-back RBI-singles and Beall came home on a wild pitch.

The Prairie Fire scored three runs in the top of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate with two outs but a ground ball to Kalnicky at short ended the rally and the game.

Freshman pitcher Shaye Gauthier went the distance for the Foresters, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven while scattering five hits and three walks. She improved to 6-0 with a 1.40 earned run average on the year.

It was the final game of the regular season for both teams and the Foresters finished with a 29-9 overall record and claimed their fourth Midwest Conference title in the last five years with a 17-1 mark in league play. Knox finished 8-26 overall and 3-15 in the MWC.

Lake Forest will host the four-team MWC Tournament next weekend. The Foresters' opening round opponent in the double-elimination event will be fourth-place Cornell College (22-18, 10-8) MWC) with first pitch scheduled for noon on Friday. Illinois College (23-9, 15-3 MWC) will take on Grinnell College (23-10, 12-6 MWC) in the other first-round game at 10:00 a.m. with the losers playing again in the afternoon at 2:00 and the winners at 4:00. Saturday's semifinal will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the first of potentially two championship games will follow at noon.