Softball: Tigers get win in season openerIt wasn’t a pretty start but the Lake City softball team came away with an 8-7 season-opening win Monday against Plainview-Elgin-Millville.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
It wasn’t a pretty start but the Lake City softball team came away with an 8-7 season-opening win Monday against Plainview-Elgin-Millville.
The Tigers (1-0) committed nine errors and the Bulldogs had 10 errors, according to Lake City head coach Katie Luhmann, but the Tigers found the plays when they needed them. In the sixth inning, Lake City allowed two runs and P-E-M had runners on first and second with zero outs in a 7-7 game. The Tigers took an out on a sacrifice bunt for the first out, struck out the next batter and senior third baseman Kyllie Smith snared a line drive to end the inning without giving up another run.
Smith followed up her nice grab with the game-winning RBI the next inning on a single.
“We knew we had some things to work on,” Luhmann said. “Kyllie Smith came through and she kept us going.”
Senior pitcher Alexa Blair got the win, pitching a complete game with six strikeouts. She also went 2-for-2 at the plate with two walks and four runs scored. Smith went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBI.
Shortstop Catherine DeVetter went 3-for-5 with a stolen base and three runs scored to lead the Bulldogs. Kourtney McNallan was 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI and a run scored in the loss.
While Lake City struggled in the field, the batting order had success waiting out Bulldogs’ pitcher, Haley Gudmundson, and finding any way on base. The Tigers received five free passes.
“Once we got on base we had smooth going,” Luhmann said. “We got a rhythm.”
The game didn’t start the way Blair hoped as P-E-M pushed five runs across the plate in the first two innings but she settled in nicely and made big pitches in pressure situations. Last season, Blair was the team’s back-up pitcher and after missing practice Friday she wasn’t as sharp early in the game.
“It took me a couple innings,” Blair said. “I was a little nervous about the defense behind me.”
It showed as Blair walked two batters, including the leadoff hitter, and the Tigers made two errors in the first inning.
But Blair calmed down and was effective, walking just one batter after the third inning.
“Once she got her strides going, she was fine,” Luhmann said. “She needed to get back in rhythm.”
Blair helped cut the deficit to 3-1 at the end of the first inning after walking and scored on senior Amy Dudley’s double.
Luhmann said Lake City made an adjustment to move up in the batter’s box in the middle innings and it paid off. The Tigers looked more comfortable with Gudmundson’s off-speed pitches and scored six runs in the third and fourth innings to go ahead 7-5.
“As soon as we moved up, we were great,” Luhmann said. “We were a lot more focused and patient.”
Blair said Lake City will need to cut down on errors in future games but P-E-M was a good matchup in the first game of the season for both teams to work out the kinks.
The Tigers get a short break before playing La Crescent next Thursday, April 12 in Lake City.