The Lake Land softball team made quick work of Rend Lake Friday at home, winning both games of a doubleheader by run rule 8-0.
The Lakers used a six-run fourth inning in game number two to secure the sweep, and all it took in that inning was a little added patience at the plate and Rend Lake pitcher Kelsey Krutsinger's rising fastball to go flat for the Lakers to open up the floodgates.
Krutsinger set Lake Land down in order in the first three innings of the game, but everything went south for her in the fourth inning.
Krutsinger walked Haylee Short to lead off the inning, but after that it looked like she was going to cruise through another inning after she set down the next two batters. But with two outs Lake Land rallied.
Allison Helton doubled and scored Short to open up the scoring. Then Lake Land strung together four straight hits including a triple from Alina Lance. In total the Lakers had six hits, two for extra bases, and they batted around in the order in their six-run explosion in the inning.
For Krutsinger, who sailed through the first three innings with little resistance, frustration became clear on her face as her fastball that had worked so well earlier in the game was suddenly being hit for solid contact by Lake Land.
Lake Land pitching coach Denny Throneburg said he noticed Krutsinger's rising fastball go flat and that was one of the reasons the Lakers flipped the script on her in the fourth inning.
"I think our kids were a little more disciplined at the plate, and sometimes the fastball flattens out a bit and we put some balls in play," Throneburg said. "They also made some mistakes behind her on defense, but I thought she threw well and I thought our kids made adjustments late in the game."
Lake Land head coach Nic Nelson said that with a pitcher like Krutsinger, getting that first and second hits off of her is big in scoring runs.
Game one was a similar story to the finale, only Lake Land used two big innings instead of one to get to the eight-run mark needed to secure a mercy win.
Lake Land scored four runs in the second innings of game one thanks to a two-run triple by Addison Baele.
In the fifth inning, Lake Land struck for four runs again, this time receiving a two-run single from Short.
Both Braylyn Burdick and Holly Marousek threw a complete game shutout for the Lakers, with Marousek doing it in game one and Burdick in game two.
Marousek allowed just four hits in five innings and Burdick gave up just one hit and struck out five batters in five innings.
Given the cold weather the games were played in, Throneburg was pleased with the location accuracy and movement both Laker pitchers threw with on Friday.
"We were ahead in the count most all day and a couple of shutouts, we'll quietly take them," he said. "We picked the runs up in the game when we needed them, but I thought, for the most part, we threw the ball well."
Rend Lake came into the doubleheader with just two losses, and Lake Land is coming off of back-to-back losses to Wabash College. Needless to say, Nelson was happy with the outcomes on Friday.
"We went through about a two-week period where our hitting wasn’t very good at the beginning and then we really hit the ball good for a couple of weeks and then we went through a little slump. But most of it was going back to the adjustments we made today, patience, wait for that pitch you can hit and drive through it," Nelson said.