It has been an up and down start for the Knox College softball team this spring.
After falling in both games of a season opening double header against St. Ambrose University on March 3, the team picked up two wins against Harris-Stowe State University on their spring break trip to St. Louis.
In the first game against Harris-Stowe, sophomore pitcher Amber Eisha tossed a three hit shutout while the offense was sparked by freshman Jenna Butler who had two RBI singles in the game. Junior Avecena Hollingsworth and senior Amanda Wollrab also had RBI in the 6-0 win. The second game featured a three to five; three RBI performances from Eisha and Knox used a five run third inning to propel to a seven to four victory. Sophomore pitcher Anna Lemen was credited with the win.
Following the spring break trip, Knox struggled a pair of road losses to Iowa Wesleyan, and then lost the first game of a double header to Eureka College. But Knox recovered to take the second game against Eureka, prevailing with the help of Butler and junior Jill Krippel who scored two runs each for the Prairie Fire.
Most recently Knox found itself back in the loss column after getting swept at home by Illinois College on April 1. The Lady Blues (7-10, 4-0 MWC) dominated the first game 15-3, then squeaked by with a 4-1 victory in the second game. The Prairie Fire (3-7, 0-2 MWC) had runners in scoring position in both the fifth and seventh innings of the second game but were unable to capitalize on the chances.
Outdoor track and field
The men’s and women’s outdoor track teams combined for 19 top five finishes at the Knox Open on Saturday March 31. The unscored meet featured athletes from Western Illinois University, Illinois College, Beloit College, Eureka College, Quincy University and a club team from Northern Illinois University.
Knox’s best performances came from junior Joe Puntoriero, who won the 200 meter dash, and sophomore Gabe Moreno who topped the field in the 5000 meter run. Puntoriero also had a third place finish in the long jump, while Moreno logged a fourth place finish in the 1500 meter run.
Junior Sean Choate placed second in the men’s 5K run, and the men’s team also received strong efforts from sophomore Matt Brongo (fourth in the 800 meter run) and senior Tony Sickley (fourth in the javelin throw).
On the women’s side sophomore Catie McLaughlin and senior Emma Swanson knotched third place finishes in the javelin throw and the 400 meter hurdles respectively. Swanson added a second top five effort with a fourth place finish in the 100 meter hurdles.
Others placing fourth were freshman Esmeralda Alvarez in the 5000 meter run and sophomore Sophia Mwuara in the javelin.
The Prairie Fire next takes part in the Ashford Invite in Clinton, Iowa on April 6.
The Knox College men’s golf team has struggled out of the gate this spring, failing to place in the top half of each of their first three tournaments of the season.
Knox opened the year over spring break with a trip to Arizona to play in the Tucson Invitational on March 14 and 15. After opening with a disappointing 363 team score in round one, the Prairie fire bounced back with a solid 311 total in round two. The score was the third best of the second round, but Knox still finished in fifth place overall.
Individually Knox was led by sophomore James Fenner, whose rounds of 76 and 70 were good enough to place second overall. Senior Bobby Stuebi also had a solid tournament, finishing sixth with scores of 79 and 75.
Knox then hosted the Prairie Fire Classic at Weaver Ridge GC in Peoria, Ill. on March 30 and 31. Knox was looking to make a statement with four conference foes and six other schools in the competition, but following scores of 342 and 346 Knox placed tenth overall in the competition.
The Prairie Fire topped fellow Midwest Conference member Illinois College, but finished behind Monmouth, St. Norbert and Grinnell Colleges. The University of Dubuque won the tournament with a two-day score of 628. Steubi fired two rounds of 78 and finished in a tie for fifth individually to pace the Prairie Fire.
On April 2 and 3 at the Beu Mussatto Invitational the Prairie Fire finished 14th out of 15 teams despite firing its best average score so far this season. Knox improved each day with rounds of 334, 326 and 321 respectively, but failed to make up room in the face of stiff competition, including multiple Division I schools.
Indian Hills Community College won the tournament in impressive fashion going just nine over as a team over three rounds of competition.