Loogootee slams door on LHS, 4-2
Lanesville’s girls softball team knocked on Opportunity’s door several times in Saturday’s Class 1A Regional 15 championship contest, but the gatekeeper ‘ dressed in Loogootee garb ‘ stubbornly refused to allow access.
Playing in their first regional championship ever, the Lady Eagles thoroughly out-hit the competition but stranded 11 runners. Meanwhile, Loogootee capitalized on several Lanesville errors and come up with a couple of key hits to post a 4-2 victory and advance to this weekend’s state finals.
The Lady Lions face Union (Dugger) at Hamilton Southeastern High School on Friday, and the winner moves on to play at the Cherry Tree Softball Complex in Carmel on Saturday for the state championship.
‘The whole year all I’ve preached about to these girls is that if we lose, it’ll be because of errors and not because the other team is better than us. This game is 90 percent mental, and we didn’t think on a couple of plays, and it killed us,’ said Lanesville’s first-year coach, Kayla Straub.
‘If our defense makes a couple of routine plays, we’re regional champions. Errors happen, and you just have to come back from them. Loogootee came back from theirs, and we weren’t quite able to.’
Actually, Loogootee’s first two runs came in fairly straight-forward fashion.
Laura Walton had a bloop single and moved to third on a two-out hit by Courtney Williams. Kassie Lingnfelter ‘ who would make the defensive play of the game later ‘ brought both in on a single.
Lanesville loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, but Loogootee hurler Sydnee Sherer struck out the next three batters to end one of several scoring opportunities.
The Lady Lions (19-11) chalked up two more runs in the fourth frame.
Jennifer Stanton struck out but reached on a dropped third strike. Walton reached in similar fashion before Casey Quick singled in Stanton. Walton would come across on a passed ball.
As the tension mounted, Lanesville (15-9) would finally break Sherer’s scoreless inning streak at 32-straight in the fifth inning.
Sophomore Allison Horton singled and went to third on a pair of wild pitches. After Brittany Johnson struck out, senior Amanda Parsons reached on an error to score Horton. Beth Dorgay reached on a fielder’s choice to bring Parsons in. Erin Harbeson also made it to first on an error and then stole second.
With two runners in scoring position, Sherer was able to get the next two batters out to quiet the threat.
Lanesville looked as if it was going to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Brittany Mix and Leslie Kaufer each singled to bring up Horton, who was 2-3 for the day. Horton promptly sent a line-drive single to center that was fielded cleanly by Lingnfelter. Lingnfelter came up throwing and zinged a strike to catcher Heather Butcher, who appeared to make a high tag on Mix.
Mix was called out, which brought jeers from the Lady Eagle coaching staff. While Straub argued at the plate, Butcher tossed the ball back to Sherer in the pitcher’s circle. Kaufer was standing off the bag at third and was called out for not committing to a base.
Walton, the Lions’ third baseman, turned to Kaufer and screamed, ‘Yeah! You’re out!’
Out, like the fire that brought Lanesville back into the game.
‘I blame myself for the third inning, but that (sixth) was pretty bad. The tag at the plate was really high on Mix, and if she tells me that she was safe, I have to believe her. The call at third was one of those that you see maybe once a year, and it was the right call. I didn’t have a problem with the call, but for their player to yell at our player, something should have been done, and it wasn’t,’ Straub said.
‘I have to give our girls a lot of credit and say how proud I am of them for not sinking down to what Loogootee’s fans were saying or what their players were saying to us. My players just played, and I’m so proud of them.’
Horton pitched a magnificent game, striking out 13 and walking none. For the tournament, she gave up just eight hits, struck out 50, and allowed just two earned runs (versus the Lady Lions). Sherer fanned eight for Loogootee.
‘We’ll have Ally back for two more years and, who knows, we could be back at regional again next year,’ Straub said. ‘Our goal right now is to win 20 games. I think we set a record for wins in a season this year, and we’ll shoot for 20 next year. We’ll have everybody back except for two really good seniors, so it could happen.’
The two graduates are Parsons and Rebekah McKim.
Loogootee, which upset No. 7-ranked Hauser, 3-0, in the first semifinal, loses six to graduation. Hauser’s loss was just its third this season.
Lanesville 6, N.W. 1
Lanesville scored five runs over the first two innings and defeated New Washington, 6-1, in the second semifinal game of the Lanesville Regional 15.
The Lady Eagles scratched a pair of runs across in the opening frame as Kaufer reached on an error and Horton marked a RBI single. She would score on a Parsons single.
McKim led off the second inning with a single and went to third on two wild pitches from New Washington’s Brittney McKee. Mix and Horton were issued free passes, with Brittany Johnson singling in McKim. Then, with two outs, Parsons hit a two-RBI single for a 5-0 lead.
New Washington’s only run came in the bottom of the fourth when Amanda Rivera was issued a two-out walk by Horton, stole second and came home on a mis-played ball hit by McKee.
Kaufer walked and Horton drove her in for the game’s final run in the sixth.
Horton pitched a no-hitter in the affair, walking two and striking out 13.