Lake Land softball coach Nic Nelson did not feel as though his team played well Saturday.
He said his team’s fielding and batting seemed a bit off-kilter
“Whether it was jitters, first-day or whatever, I don’t know,” said Nelson. “But we’ll be better next time, I promise you.”
The Lakers (50-8) still found a way to sweep Frontier College in a best-of-three first-round regional series to advance into next weekend’s double-elimination NJCAA regional Final Four held in Mt. Vernon.
Lake Land, which is ranked No. 16 nationally and No. 1 in this regional competition, knocked off No. 8 Frontier 3-1 in the opener behind a strong pitching performance from Rachel Kaufman, who struck out eight, scattered six hits and walked one batter.
Kaufman struck out the final batter with runners on second and third in the final inning after allowing Frontier’s only run of the game.
Kaitlyn Scheitler drove in all three Lake Land runs on a home run, double and single in three at-bats.
Clare Maulding gave the Lakers another solid pitching performance in the second game, limiting Frontier to one run before allowing a two-run homer in the seventh inning that narrowed the score to 6-3 before the right-hander induced a grounder for a fielder’s choice to secure the win two batters later.
Maulding, who struck out 10, had retired eight straight batters and scattered four total hits entering the final inning.
“She pitched really well,” Nelson said. “To get a whole game was really good.”
Lake Land scored four runs in the opening inning of Game 2. With one out five straight batters reached base with four scoring. It all started with a single by Windsor grad Carson Cole. She stole second and scored on a single by Graber. Schietler walked and Klara Cejkova-Kolaci singled, scoring Graber. Krysten Darrough reached on an error while another run scored.
After the Bobcats scored an unearned run in the third inning, Lake Land countered by scoring in the fourth when Kaufman walked, stole second and scored on a one-out single by Makea. Taylor Warne then walked, went to third on a single and scored on a passed ball.
Saturday, May 15
Place: Mt. Vernon, Illinois
10 a.m. – #2 Wabash Valley vs. #3 John A Logan
Noon – #1 Lake Land vs. #4 Southwestern Illinois
2 p.m. – Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner
4 p.m. – Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser
Sunday, May 16
10 a.m. – Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser
Noon – Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner
2 p.m. – Played, if necessary
Photos by Sarah Gisondi