KANSAS – Sometimes, a loss can reveal what a team is made of.
The Lakota softball team lost its first game of the season over the weekend to Otsego. Rather than sulk in the wake of its first defeat, the Raiders came back in resounding fashion Monday afternoon.
And now it’s St. Joseph Central Catholic’s turn.
Lakota snapped SJCC’s 12-game winning streak in a 10-0 six-inning victory in the Sandusky River League.
“We pitched well and ran the bases well; it really was a complete team effort in all phase of the game,” Lakota coach Chris Chalfin said. “And we did it against a very good team.”
The win improved Lakota’s season record to 13-1 overall, 5-0 in the SRL. SJCC, on the other hand, dropped to 13-5, 3-2.
SJCC coach Sarrah Ottney said how her team responds after a lackluster showing will be a telling indicator of her team’s future success.
“Not letting it roll over from one game to another, being able to compartmentalize and being able to start over knowing tomorrow is a new day,” Ottney said. “There is a lot of young kids — like I said before, 12 freshmen and sophomores. If they can get beat down today and come back tomorrow, that speaks well for now and for our future.”
The Raiders’ potent offense was on display Monday, as the Raiders totaled 11 hits and received production throughout its lineup. Lakota’s lead-off hitter reached safely every inning, allowing the Raiders to keep pressure on SJCC pitcher Be Reardon and her defense.
The Crimson Streaks crumbled at times under that pressure, committing five defensive errors, two of which led to a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the second inning as Lakota jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
Lakota continued to pour on the offense, adding four more runs in the third inning. The Raiders sent nine hitters to the plate, highlighted by a bases-loaded, two-RBI double by Aspen Ray, and took an 8-0 lead after the third inning.
“The last couple of games, we scored runs early in the game and had trouble scoring after that,” Chalfin said. “I think, to some extent, it could have been a little bit of a lack of focus, so we talked about focusing in every inning. I don’t know if it was that or just luck, but we scored in a lot of different innings, and that was good to see.”
While the Lakota offense surged, SJCC’s sputtered against a terrific pitching performance by Lakota’s Nikkia Cooper. Cooper allowed just three hits and three walks in six innings with five strikeouts.
“I thought she pitched very well; she threw hard,” Chalfin said. “She pitched the ball well, changed speeds when she needed to. And sometimes, they hit the ball really hard, just hit it right at us. We made a couple nice plays on defense.”
Lakota spread out its offense production, though Aubry Bickford led the way by going 3-for-4 at the plate. Destiny Long-Meyer went 2-4 with a double, a triple and two RBIs and Morgan Gangwer went 2-3 with an RBI.
“They hit everything,” Ottney said of Lakota. “(Reardon has) five-plus pitches, and they put contact on every single one of them. No matter what we threw, somebody somewhere in the lineup was putting a bat on it.”
SJCC managed just three hits, two of which came from Ashley Burns and Josie Weickert had a double.
“We’re a good team — we have 13 wins. We can’t let one game define us,” Ottney said. “We have five really tough games this week coming up after this, and once the head hits the pillow tonight, we have to refocus and get ready for tomorrow.”