GEORGETOWN – Sussex Tech ended Lake Forest’s softball season last spring, defeating the Lady Spartans, 4-1, in the DIAA state tournament semi-finals. It was the second Tech victory over Lake Forest during the 2016 season.
Monday, April 10, Lake traveled to Georgetown seeking revenge for the three-run state tournament loss 10 months prior, and the Lady Spartans’ quest proved successful.
A 13-10 Lake Forest road victory provided the squad with a boost of confidence, and handed the Lady Ravens (5-1) its first loss of the 2017 season.
Lake made a statement by putting up 13 runs against a Tech team that hadn’t surrendered any more than four runs in any given game this season.
“They came out, got some good opportunities and took advantage of them,” Sussex Tech head coach John Marvel said. “They put runners on base, got some hits and put some runs on the board against us, so they were just able to get a good lead and then were able to hold on.”
“We came out really wanting this win,” Lake Forest head coach Ashlie Tatman said. “They beat us twice last year, the second time they beat us they put us out in our run for a championship. So we really wanted this game bad, and we really wanted to make a statement today. We just dug deep and played Lake ball.”
Lake brought their bats with them to Sussex Technical High School, collecting 14 hits and launching three home runs over the left-center field wall. Twelve runs in the first three innings broke the game wide open for the Spartans, and made it difficult for Tech to recover.
A two-run single to centerfield by Lake junior Kayla Thompson helped the Spartans get out in front 2-0 in the top of the first inning, but Tech came back and put up four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Two of the first three Tech batters of the game were struck out by Lake pitcher Kaityln Stahre, but with two outs sophomore Jakayla Sample got the scoring started with an RBI double to centerfield.
The next batter, senior infielder Rylee Shockley, drove Sample in with an RBI single to right field. Freshman Kelsey Kormanik’s RBI double and sophomore Kayla Booros’ RBI single capped the first-inning scoring for Tech.
Despite surrendering four runs in the first inning, Lake’s Kaitlyn Stahre bounced back and allowed just one Tech run over the next three innings of play.
“They’re a very good team,” Stahre said. “Coming back from that first inning, I knew I had to hone down, get myself together and use my defense a little bit more. I thought if I let them put the ball in play and use my defense a little more, it would allow us to make some plays.”
A pair of two-run home runs from Thompson and junior Brooke Glanden propelled the Spartans to a six-run second inning.
A lead-off triple from senior centerfielder Mya Maddox in the top of the third inning set up another big offensive inning for Lake.
Stahre drove in Maddox with a base hit, and Glanden went on to reach base on an infield single. This set-up senior first baseman Kerrigan Simpson, who drove a pitch over the left-center field wall for a three-run home run.
“We work hard in practice and we knew it was going to be a good game, but we came out here and we played Lake ball,” Simpson said. “That’s what our coach preaches to us. Play Lake ball every pitch, every play.”
Against a team of Tech’s caliber, a 12-5 lead is never safe.
The Lady Ravens’ offense produced two runs in the fifth inning. Senior catcher Shannon Lord drove in senior outfielder Jenna Tate with a two-out RBI double, and junior Alyssa Collins followed that up by driving Lord in during the next at bat.
One more run in the sixth inning – a solo home run to left field by Rylee Shockey – brought the score to within striking distance, 12-8.
Lake managed to put an additional insurance run on the board in the top half of the seventh inning, clinging to a five-run lead going into the bottom of the final inning.
A two-RBI ground-rule double from Shockley made things interesting, but Stahre managed to end the rally attempt by forcing a groundout to third base and seal the upset victory.
“Our team has a lot of character, a lot of fight,” coach Marvel said. “We just knew that we needed to keep growing, keep playing. And we did all the way to the end. I was really happy with the way we were able to keep fighting all the way from start to finish.”
A win over a previously-undefeated Tech team is satisfying, but the Lady Spartans will have another tough task ahead of them when they play host to the Delmar Wildcats (6-1) Wednesday, April 12 at 4:15 p.m.
As for the Lady Ravens, they will hit the road and take on Laurel High School at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 12.
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at email@example.com.