Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – Fresh off of its second split against nationally-ranked George Fox University, the Pacific Lutheran University softball team must quickly turn its attention to the final foe of the season in crosstown rival University of Puget Sound. The Lutes will head back up to Auburn on Saturday for their first doubleheader against the Loggers at Mountainview High School before returning home to celebrate Senior Day and finish their regular season with one final doubleheader.
While the Lutes must prepare quickly for their final opponent, some players must also make the most of their final days on the diamond as Lutes. The Lutes will celebrate the prolific careers of three seniors on Sunday, as Jessica Alcomendas, Anna Lennox, and Marissa Miller will be finishing out their college careers.
"This year's senior class has left its mark on PLU softball," head coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "The three of them grind, fight, and compete in everything they do and have done up to this point."
Alcomendas, Lennox, and Miller have shown off versatility by adapting to what the team has asked of them through the years.
"They all love the game and have been students of the game," Gordon Bennett said. "Each has taken on many different roles throughout their career, and they've always done so keeping the game and our Luteball family first."
In maintaining those Luteball family values, the seniors have developed many fond memories in their careers.
"I'll remember Lute softball because of the relationships I made with my teammates over the past four years," Miller said. "I'm going to miss being at practice with them every day."
Miller has pitched in 55 complete games in her career, earning 33 wins in the process. She's also delivered 292 strikeouts, 81 of which have come in her final season. Miller needs just two more strikeouts to push that to a career best in a season. Above all else, Miller is excited to be able to finish her career on her home field.
"The best part about playing Lute softball is the support we have from family and friends," Miller said. "I'll definitely miss playing on our home field."
Joining Miller for Senior day, Jessica Alcomendas will perhaps most remember the team's ability to balance the fun with the serious and make the most of their time together.
"My favorite memories over my four years of being on the team has been the spirit weeks we've done during fall ball and towards the end of each season," Alcomendas said. "I'll also miss just how goofy we are with each other and the fun games we play right before our actual game starts."
Alcomendas has provided 24 hits and 16 RBIs in her career with the Lutes, while also earning 11 walks and stealing seven bases, more than half of which have come this season. As she celebrates her final appearance on the field, Alcomendas joyfully knows that the friendships with her teammates won't end this weekend.
"It's just great to know I've made some lifelong friends on the team and we will always be in touch," Alcomendas said.
The third senior, Anna Lennox has appeared in 36 games over the past two seasons after transferring from Pierce Community College and has made a big impact in her two-year stint at PLU.
Apr. 14: PLU vs. Puget Sound (DH) at Auburn Mountainview HS (12 p.m.)
Apr. 15: PLU vs. Puget Sound (DH) at PLU Field (12 p.m.)
Series History: The two Tacoma rivals have met 148 times on the diamond with the Lutes enjoying a commanding 114-33-1 advantage in the all-time series, including winning six of the last seven encounters and 26 of the last 29.
About the Loggers: Puget Sound (9-22-1, 7-15 NWC) busted out of a six-game skid on Monday, earning a twinbill sweep of visiting Willamette with 7-4 and 4-2 wins.
Mackensie Pearlstein leads the Loggers at the plate, sporting a .326 batting average while Erica Gott boasts a .305 average with a team-best 14 extra base hits and 21 RBIs.
Inside the circle its been the Gott sisters doing most of the work, combining for 10 1/3 innings of work. Jessica Gott leads the team with 54 strikeouts and 10 complete games while Erica Gott has 27 strikeouts on the season with a team-leading 5.03 earned run average.