By Brodee Gillam
Defense wins championships.
The LCC softball team's last doubleheader featured championship-caliber defense, as well as some outstanding offense.
The Stars faced off against the Muskegon Jayhawks at home on March 24 and won both outings. The first contest was an 8-0 victory. The second, which only went five innings, finished 14-2.
These two wins pushed the Stars record to 13-4 overall.
LCC Head Coach Marc Kibby said the freedom players have on offense allows them to flourish at the plate.
"We do not rely on one person (on offense)," Kibby said. "It's the team concept. It's how we work with everybody. It's how hard everybody works. If you have a bad day and go zero-for-three, someone else is going to pick you up and go three-for-three.
"It's part of that culture that we've built that it's just not one person. Everybody does their job and we have (talent) up and down the lineup. And the kids that we have that aren't playing very much … can come in and do the job. "
Freshman Rebecca Curtis has stepped into her role for the Stars and, according to Kibby, is a "throwback ball player that loves to play the game."
Curtis started the first game hot, recording two hits, two runs and an RBI. This carried over into the nightcap, where she finished with two hits, a double and three runs.
Sophomore Ashley Cross was strong at the plate in both of the wins. In the first game, Cross recorded a single, a steal, one run and two RBIs in three at-bats. In the second, in her only at-bat, she hit a grand slam. Her four RBIs were a game-high.
Stars pitchers, sophomores Gabby Hoaglund and Connor Proctor, both had good outings against the Jayhawks.
In the first, Proctor pitched a seven-inning shutout, allowing only two hits and six strikeouts. The win improved Proctor's record to 4-3.
In the nightcap, Hoaglund improved her record to 6-1. In only five innings, Hoaglund struck out six batters and only allowed two unearned runs.
Kibby said something was missing at the start of the season, but with these two wins, things are looking up.
"Both Gabby and Connor … I expected them to be doing well," Kibby said. "But there was just something, starting this spring, in their timing; both of them have been a little bit off. And even though Gabby has a very good record, there was still just something missing.
"(Against Muskegon) this weekend … they are back. You'll see bigger and better things out of those two."
Hoaglund said attention to detail in practice has translated to the games.
"Our high-intense practices, I would say, help us the most," Hoaglund said. "Basically everything we do in practice (helps us) know how to work together as a team."
The Stars' next home doubleheader is on Friday, April 6 is against Grand Rapids Community College. The action starts at 3 p.m. at Ranney Park.