Lakers thrilled to have Lorimer, Weerstra on their side

It's hard to imagine the Spring Lake varsity softball team without sensational first baseman Evie Lorimer and ace pitcher Sam Weerstra. But if not for a few twists of fate, the Lakers might have been without that pivotal pair of contributors, and Spring Lake likely would not be preparing for Saturday's Division 2 regional contest against Belding at Hope College. Lorimer, already one of the most decorated batters in the rich history of Spring Lake softball as a junior, nearly left the school district prior to her sophomore season.
Matt DeYoung
Jun 9, 2011

 

Weerstra, on the other hand, suffered what was believed to be a season-ending ankle injury earlier this season.

“When I was a freshman, we planned on moving to Kentucky,” Lorimer said. “My dad had gotten a job down there, and we had looked at other schools down there when we got the news that we weren’t moving and I could stay at Spring Lake.

“I was so excited to stay at Spring Lake and play softball here.”

It didn’t take Core long to realize how special a talent Lorimer is.

“It was her freshman year right at the end, and we moved her up for districts, and she practiced with us for a week, and in that district game, we batted her fourth,” Core said. “That’s how much she impressed us with one week of practice.”

Core said Lorimer has all the tools to take her talents to the next level.

“The Michigan State head coach spoke at a clinic many years ago and said, when they look at college kids, they look at speed and arm strength, because those are two things that can’t be coached, and the biggest things for Evie are her speed and her arm strength.”

Core noted that several college coaches have taken notice of Lorimer, with Grand Valley State and Aquinas coaches becoming regular attendees at Lakers’ games.

Now in her third full Lorimer is one of the most feared hitters in West Michigan. She boasts a .446 batting average with a team-high four home runs. Her 16 triples is the third-best season total in the state record books and just two behind the single-season state record, held by LeAnn Covey of South Haven in 1993.

Lorimer’s primary asset is her blazing speed, and she’s used that asset to steal 50 bases in 52 attempts.

“I just keep running until they tell me to stop,” Lorimer said with a laugh.

“About 99 percent of the time, we’re going,” Core added. “We want to get her into scoring position as soon as possible.”

As a result, Lorimer has scored a team-high 53 runs this spring. Lorimer has been so effective in the leadoff spot in part because of those batting behind her in the lineup. Micanna Pelkey is hitting .330 on the season and has driven in a team-high 43 runs. In the No. 3 spot is Rachael Adams, who is batting a phenomenal .467 on the season with three home runs, 12 triples and 37 RBIs.

“I have a lot of good hitters behind me,” said Lorimer, who started the season in center field before moving to first base. “I have complete confidence in Micanna and Rachael. It’s rare that I get on base and sit there and watch them get outs. They drive me in almost every time.”

With Lorimer and the Lakers’ offense doing their job, it makes it that much easier on Weerstra, the Lakers’ senior pitcher who features a 10-6 record this spring.

Weerstra threw a pair of strong games in last Saturday’s district tournament. The fact that she’s pitching at all is special, considering that she suffered what was thought to be a season-ending injury several weeks ago.

Weerstra went awkwardly into third base, something between a lunge and a slide, and in the process, severely sprained her ankle.

“There was an overthrow and I was running to third, and there was nobody at third base,” Weerstra said. “I thought I could just run and stop at third base, then I saw the catcher running at me with the ball. My mind said slide, but I couldn’t get down fast enough.”

Weerstra went to the hospital and had X-rays, which came up negative.

“It was just a really severe sprain,” she said. “Typically, when you sprain your ankle, it’s one side or the other. I sprained my whole ankle.”

Watching from the sideline was torturous for Weerstra, who eventually worked her way back into the lineup.

“I tried to stay positive,” she said. “Something I try to live by is that your mind moves to the most dominant thought, so I thought, if I’m going to be positive, I’m going to heal quicker. My team helped me through it, so I felt like I owed it to them to come back and do my best.”

With Weerstra and Lorimer at the forefront, the Lakers have secured the program’s fifth district title and have accomplished what last year’s veteran team couldn’t.

“Being on the team last year, we were upset in the districts by Fruitport, and after that game, all the seniors said, ‘You better win this year. You better get some revenge,’” Weerstra said. “This year, with all our new players, it’s really awesome to be able to come out and accomplish this.

“Our season’s not over, but to have one last awesome thing to accomplish, it’s making my senior year perfect.”

Core said it’s been a huge boost having Weerstra back in the lineup.

“We were losing one of our top hitters and a senior captain,” Core said. “We had two inexperienced juniors (Cassie Appel and Alyssa Henderson) and a freshman (Ashley Keena) filling in for her, and we felt there was a big drop-off between Sam and those other pitchers as far as consistency. Now when Sam came back, those other three went 4-2 in the conference and did a great job filling in, but you can’t replace that experience.

“It’s a nice shot in the arm to have her back.”

 

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