Lake Land softball came within one out of losing its NJCAA Division I national softball opener in Yuma, Arizona.
But Mattoon High alum Jordan Sapp lined a game-tying single with two outs and Mackayla Denney delivered another RBI single to help No. 13 Lake Land rally from a three-run deficit to beat fourth-seeded Seminole State of Oklahoma, 8-7, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Lakers entered the final inning behind 7-4 after having blown a one-run lead the previous inning. Ahead 4-3, Lake Land had allowed four runs.
Eva Richardson led off the seventh by earning a walk and advanced when Ashlyn Hicks reached base on an error by Seminole State’s third baseman.
Kaitlyn Scheitler’s single to left drove in Richardson to make it 7-5, leaving runners on first and second.
But a fly out to right field and pop up to third brought Seminole State within one out of securing the win at the Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex.
Sapp, though, ripped the next pitch to left field, driving in two runs to tie the score at 7. The sophomore scored the decisive run when Denney grounded a single to left on a 1-1 count.
After giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, Claire Maulding secured the final three outs in order – on a fly ball to center, a grounder to first base and a strikeout.
Lake Land next faces fifth-seeded Odessa, a winner over San Jacinto, at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in the 16-team tournament.
Sapp, who had three hits Tuesday, also blasted a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning.