The Knox College softball team (2-10, 0-2 MWC) looked as though they were headed in a positive direction following two early wins and another competitive loss against a quality opponent in Florida.
That may still be true, but so far the return to Illinois competition has proven a bit of a speed bump.
The Prairie Fire brought a 2-6 record home from Clermont, Fla., with wins against Fitchburg State University (Mass.) on back-to-back days. One of its losses was a 6-1 defeat to then 5-1 Macalester College (Minn.) from the respected Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Since returning to Illinois, however, Knox has dropped decisions to St. Mary of the Woods College (Ind.) and Oakland City (Ind.) University, and two conference games to Illinois College, 9-1 and 12-7.
Sophomore Brittney Wisniewski, picking up right where she left off after a strong freshman campaign, is leading the Prairie Fire offense in most major categories. Her .364 batting average, 12 hits, 5 RBI and .897 OPS all lead the team.
Junior transfer Kaylah Murphy (Lincoln College) has 10 hits and a .278 average, hitting mostly out of the leadoff hole. Her two stolen bases in two attempts tie her for the team lead with junior Beth McRill.
The bulk of the pitching has been handled by freshmen Amber Eisha and Anna Lemen. Eisha leads the team in innings pitched and has recorded one of the team’s two wins. Lemen has posted a 7.65 ERA in 20 innings pitched.
This weekend, the Prairie Fire travels to Lawrence, Wisc. for the annual Midwest Conference Crossover, where teams from the conference’s South Division take on teams from the North Division that they do not generally play otherwise.
On Saturday, Knox faces Lawrence University, Ripon and St. Norbert Colleges in the lone tripleheader of the year at the Midwest Conference Crossover in Janesville, Wisc. On Sunday, the Prairie Fire returns to the field to take on Carroll University and Beloit College, also at the Crossover.
The next game against a South Division foe comes Saturday, April 16, which is also Knox’s next home contest.