COTTONWOOD - Huge sweeps against MACCRAY and Dawson-Boyd last week gave the Lakeview softball team a whole heap of momentum heading into its final Camden Conference doubleheader of the season.
Riding a six-game win streak and in the midst of its best season in school history, a final sweep of Minneota/Canby/Lincoln HI on Monday would have put Lakeview in a tie for second in the final conference standings and given the Lakers a high seed in the upcoming Section 3A tournament. The players knew what position they were in and what they had to do. They just couldn't quite do it.
The Lakers committed three errors and gave up four runs in the second inning of their first game against M/C/L and were out of sorts through much of the of the contest. A 7-4 Vikings win was followed by a dominant 10-0 win by Lakeview in Game 2, but the Lakers knew they let a golden opportunity get away from them.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Minneota/Canby/Lincoln HI first baseman Payton Boerboom, left, holds up her glove after getting Lakeview’s Anissa Peppersack out during Game 2 of a Camden Conference doubleheader Monday in Cottonwood. The Vikings defeated Lakeview 7-4 in Game 1 before falling to the Lakers 10-0 in six innings in Game 2.
"If we won both of these we would have had a good shot to tie for second in the conference," Lakeview head coach Tony Johnson said, "but the thing that kind of hurts us the worst is we would have had a shot at second in seeding in the section, maybe third, and now we're looking at fourth or fifth. It really hurts.
"I told them, 'You can't come out flat. You have to be ready to play right away.' But we were pretty flat."
Lakeview finishes the regular season with an 8-6 record in the Camden Conference and an 11-6 mark overall. The Vikings (4-8 Camden, 5-9 overall) have three games left on their schedule, including a doubleheader today in Minneota against MACCRAY.
Lakeview000 210 1-4 7 7
C/M/L042 001 X-7 7 3
LV-Lyndsey Peterson. C/M/L-Kelsea Tolk. WP-Tolk. LP-Peterson 3B: LV-Peterson, Sarah Berg. 2B: LV-Abby Lee; C/M/L-Sara DeSmet.
C/M/L000 000-0 3 3
Lakeview413 101-10 9 1
C/M/L-Kelsea Tolk. Lakeview-Lyndsey Peterson. WP-Peterson. LP-Tolk. 3B: LV-Rachel Kurtenbach. 2B: LV-Peterson 2.
The Lakers committed three errors through the first five Vikings' at-bats in the second inning. Jessica Fox followed with a hit to right and Ricki Kallhoff had a two-run single to left, and by the end of the inning Lakeview was in a 4-0 hole.
The third inning didn't get much better for Lakeview. An error by the third baseman allowed Payton Boerboom, the first batter of the inning, to get reach second base. She was driven in when Sara DeSmet hit a double to left-center on pitch from Lakeview starter Lyndsey Peterson. After M/C/L's Brandi Merritt got on with a bunt single, DeSmet scored when a fly ball by Katelyn Smith was misplayed by the left fielder.
The Vikings were putting the ball in play, and the Lakers were botching their plays. Lakeview finished with a total of seven errors in the game.
"If they're running the bases aggressively, that's what I want," M/C/L head coach Jim Rolbiecki said of his players. "I want the other team to make the play.
After such strong efforts against Dawson-Boyd and MACCRAY last week, Johnson was caught off guard by the Lakers' struggles to start Monday's doubleheader.
"I think they thought they were just going to cruise," he said. "I told them that Minneota's not just going to lay over and die for us. A couple bad things happened and we got a little gun shy, got a little nervous.
"We weren't making the throws we should have been making and got real nervous in the batter's box for some reason. It's hard to explain."
Lakeview looked to be settling in in the fourth inning when Peterson and Sarah Berg put together back-to-back triples. Berg later scored when M/C/L's right fielder lost a fly ball in the sun. Then in the fifth, Lakeview had four straight batters reach base with two outs, but Vikings' starter Kelsea Tolk got Lakeview's Rachel Kurtenbach to fly out to short to limit the damage to one run.
Tolk only surrendered one more run in the game, recording eight strikeouts in C/M/L's 7-4 win.
"She's a competitor," Rolbiecki said of Tolk. "She likes to play the game and compete and she does as much as she's capable of doing, and even more sometimes. I'm very happy with the way she performed, and everybody had to make a play behind her at a certain time and they did."
With the loss, the Lakers' opportunity to clinch second in the conference had slipped away, but so did their tension at the plate. They started Game 2 with four runs on three hits in the first inning, including an RBI triple to right by Kurtenbach. Lakeview added another run in the second, then scored three runs on three hits in the third to bust open an 8-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Vikings were unable to get anything going offensively against Peterson. The senior struck out six batters and gave up just three hits while cruising through the game.
Offensively, Peterson ended the game going 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and two runs scored. Kurtenbach was also 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Corbyn Wee had a hit, a walk, two stolen bases and crossed the plate twice.
The Lakers have shown what they can do when they're focused and what can happen when they're not. Despite the loss his team suffered Monday, Johnson still feels Lakeview has a good chance to pick up the school's first-ever first-round playoff win and make a run in the upcoming section tournament.
"I'm real confident that we could win one, maybe two games the first night, but we definitely have to play better than we did tonight and I think the girls know that," Johnson said. "We just have to relax a little bit and play ball."