Geneva softball coach Greg Dierks had seen Lake Park’s power up close already one time this year when his team gave up three home runs to the Lancers in a loss early in the year.
This time he decided he would try starting Rachel Fanella at pitcher to see if Fanella’s slower pace would give the hard-hitting Lancers some trouble.
It worked early as the Vikings held a 4-run lead heading into the bottom of the third inning. But the Lancers’ lineup adjusted the second time through the order as they sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning and scored seven runs on eight hits to take over the game.
Lake Park scored 5 more runs in the bottom of the fourth and ended the game early with two more in the fifth inning to complete a 15-5 victory in the first round of Class 4A regional playoffs at Bartlett. The Lancers play the winner of Wednesday’s Bartlett/Addison Trail matchup.
“We tried throwing slow today to see what would happen and Lake Park is just a very disciplined, quality hitting team,” said Dierks. ”There aren’t any holes in their swings and the wind was blowing out to boot so we knew we were going to give up some runs. We had to hope to our score them and, in the first half of the game, we had some good swings and we had them down 5-1 but in the long run their bats won the game.”
One bat that really helped turn it around for Lake Park (25-11) was that of Sam Cummings. Cummings cut the Vikings’ lead in half with a 2-run blast to right-center field and later in the inning Shannon Fritsche hit a 3-run homer to straight away center field that gave the Lancers the lead at 8-5.
“You have to remember that you have seven innings to hit, you can’t get down when it’s only the third inning and they have a couple runs up on you,” said Fritsche. “We just had to stay calm and not get down on ourselves, we’re confident in our bats that we can get it done. We kept ourselves calm and got ourselves right back in the ballgame.”
Lancers pitcher Danielle Jecmen (16-5) came out in the fourth and put down Geneva (16-17) in order for the first time all game and the Lancers were right back up and hitting again. This time it was a 2-run shot from Stephanie Starr that made it 13-5. Cummings added another home run in the fifth, Lake Park’s fifth of the game, and it was over.
“The hitting was very contagious that inning,” said Cummings. “We were able to put up seven after a slow start and come right back with five more the next inning. We feed off each other a lot.”
Every hitter in the lineup had a hit for the Lancers including Taylor Barton going a perfect 4-for-4 with 4 RBI.
“We have a 1-9 lineup that can hit. We have full confidence in every hitter on the team,” said Fritsche.
Madison Keith hit a 3-run shot for the Vikings to put them up 5-1 early in the game.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.