ST. GEORGE, Utah — Lake Land's Addison Baele hit two home runs, including the game ender in the sixth inning, leading No. 11 seed Lake Land College to a 16-8 upset over No. 3 seed Florida SouthWestern State College on Thursday afternoon at the NJCAA Division I Softball Championship in St. George, Utah.
The Lakers move on to the semifinal round of the winners' bracket to face No. 2 seed Salt Lake Community College, which beat No. 7 seed San Jacinto-South. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. CST on Friday.
On Thursday, both Lake Land and Florida SouthWestern State College got the scoring going in the first inning. Florida SouthWestern scored three runs on a double and two errors, while the Lakers fought back with a run on a Tegan Murphy RBI single that brought in Samantha Valentine, making it 3-1 after one inning. The Lakers tied it an inning later on Baele’s second homer of the championships, a two-run blast to right field, scoring Kendall Hastings, who had doubled two batters before.
FSSC took a 5-3 lead on a two-run homer of its own.
The Laker offense proceeded to send 17 batters to the plate over the next two innings. In the third, LLC scores five runs on four hits and hit batsmen. Hastings and Valentine each gained two RBIs on a single and a double, respectively, while third basemen, Madison Boone knocked in the other run on a double of her own. After three innings, LLC held an 8-5 lead.
In the fourth, FSSC loaded the bases before Mikenzie Vaughn singled to center field, bringing in two runs to make it 8-7.
In the Lakers’ half of the inning, the bats continued to sizzle with the first six hitters reaching base. Home runs by Murphy and Hastings capped a six-run inning, and Hastings' home run was a grand slam.
Boone knocked in her second run of the day for the final RBI of the inning. After four innings, it was 14-7.
After Florida SouthWestern scored one run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth, LLC came out in their half and saw the game ended by Baele’s third homer of the tournament, scoring Valentine.
“It’s a national tournament. Losers go home, but we’re still here in the winners' bracket,” Lake Land coach Nic Nelson said. “We’ve always lived with our pitching, and Fish (Katelyn Fisher) and Emily (Oestreich) continue to do a great job, but it’s the hitting that’s making this tournament. (Addison) Baele is on a terror, three home runs.”
On Wednesday, Lake Land used a five-run fourth inning to push past sixth-seeded Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College 6-5 in the opening round.
The Lakers pushed one across in the third inning on Baele’s solo home run to right center, giving them a 1-0 lead. Northeastern Oklahoma tied the game in the third.
Lake Land had its big inning in the fourth. With the bases loaded, Haylee Short forced in Boone when she was hit by a pitch, bringing up designated player Murphy, who hit a two-strike pitch to right field for a grand slam and a 6-1 Laker lead.
Oestreich earned the win, going seven innings. She scattered eight hits, while striking out five and walking one. Offensively, Valentine was 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run, Baele hit a home run and scored twice, Short was 2-for-3 with a RBI, Murphy hit a grand slam and drove in four runs, and Boone scored a run.