The Knox College softball team dominated in all facets of the game in completing a two-game sweep over the Grinnell Pioneers on Sunday, April 21. Knox took game one 8-0 while coming away with a 6-2 victory in game two.
In the first game, the Prairie Fire broke open a 1-0 game with a four-run third inning which featured a two-run home run by sophomore Kayla Behrens. The homer gave Behrens four on the season, which is tied for the team lead with junior Amber Eisha. In total eight of Knox’s nine starters had either a run or an RBI.
“We had a lot of different people come up to the plate and produce. It was one of the more complete team efforts we have had on offense,” head coach Ashley Sims said.
Knox added runs in the fifth and sixth innings but did not need them, as Eisha held the Pioneers to just three hits en route to a complete game shutout.
“It felt good,” Eisha said. “We got the hits when they were needed, and we played smart on defense. Even though we can’t make it to the tournament this year, I feel we’ve done a lot better this year in conference play. And that was a definite confidence builder.”
Game two featured an impressive performance from freshman Karli Shields, who broke out of a 0-24 slump with two home runs to carry the Prairie Fire on offense.
“I have made a couple of tweaks to my swing,” Shields said. “I’ve worked on stopping myself from dropping my hands and concentrating on looking at the ball all the way in.”
Shields also shined in the circle, where she struck out six in four and two-thirds innings to earn the win.
“I like relying on my changeup; it gets a lot of girls out on their front foot. On the whole, it just comes down to hitting my spots. I’ve struggled with that at times, but I got it together against [Grinnell],” Shields said.
“Eisha has experience, [Sophmore] Anna Lemen has experience, Karli is now getting that experience,” Sims said. “She does well with her changeup, which is a good pitch. I think she’ll be a really good player as she comes along. She has the tools she just needs to keep building and get more confidence.”
Knox was unable to extend the winning streak on Wednesday, dropping two games to a red-hot Eureka College squad 15-7 and 6-0 respectively. Eureka is now 19-11 on the year, having won nine in a row.
“Eureka is a good team. There isn’t a lot of room to work with in their lineup,” Sims said. “Any time you play a team that’s on a roll and making good things happen you have to come in ready right from the start. We ended up having to play catch up.”
“Nothing was really working for us. Eureka definitely has good hitters, but we didn’t play to our full potential. Hopefully, we can shake [it] off and take it out on Cornell in conference when it really matters,” Eisha said.
Knox returns to conference action when they take on Cornell College at 1 pm on Saturday, April 27.