NAPLES—It took the Lakers a couple innings to wake up vs. visiting York on Monday afternoon, May 21, but when they finally came to, they came to hungry: From the third through the sixth, Lake Region made the Wildcats look more like pussycats, putting up 13 runs while giving up just one.
“All season long, this team has been really, really competitive against everybody,” Lake Region head coach Wayne Rivet said. “And it would always be one inning or two that would turn the game around and out of our control.”
“We had a 12-inning game here against Cape Elizabeth and the kids played amazing,” Rivet said. “They stopped Cape from scoring, I think, three times from the seventh inning on, first and third, nobody out. We keep trying to go back to that game, and say, ‘Listen, that kind of defense is what wins in this league.’ A lot of the teams are pretty close, talent-wise; it’s the team that doesn’t make the mistake. Today was a prime example.”
“It feels so good, and I’m super-happy to be a part of this team,” said Lakers catcher Maddie Rock, who turned in some standout plays to help fire up her squad. “We’ve tried so hard, the entire season, and we really deserved this on our senior night.”
“It really boosts our intensity,” said the team’s pitcher, Haley Fernald. “It shows us how hard we need to work, and how hard we need to push ourselves, to get where we need to be.”
13-1, then, in a run-rule rout. The win bumped Lake Region to 6-8 on the season. In the Lakers’ highly competitive league, those six wins won’t quite get them into the playoffs: They currently occupy 13th place in B South, a slot back from Spruce Mountain and two back from Cape Elizabeth. Only the top 11 outfits advance to the bracketing.
“We told our kids, ‘This is our playoff game. We’re right on the fringe of getting in. No one’s going to feel sorry for us,’” Rivet said. “The message was: ‘Play your kind of game, play error free ball.’”
York actually got on the board first, scoring their only run in the top of the third, when Kiley Blondin reached base on a big triple and soon crossed home again.
After that, however, the tide turned Lake Region’s way: Savannah Silke tripled, Julia Murch bunted and Jordan Weese flared into right. All three girls got on base with their contact, and all three eventually made their way home again, with Fernald also picking up a single in the stretch.
The Lakers’ fourth inning proved even bigger, with the team tallying four – four in the fourth. Silke, Murch and Weese all reached and scored, but this time around, so did Rock, who doubled in her at-bat.
Lake Region added three more in the fifth and three again in the sixth, leading to an early declaration of victory in their favor.
All told, the Lakers finished with 19 hits. Fernald, Weese and Murch each kicked in four of those 19, and Silke kicked in three. Rock, Fernald, Silke and Weese all had doubles, and Fernald that big triple too. Fernald notched two RBIs.
“We have a really interesting mix of hitters,” Rivet said. “Our top two hitters are really good slap hitters, with speed, and then we bring up our big bats behind them. It’s a good combination and today they kind of put it all together.”
On the mound, Fernald threw four strikeouts, but mostly lured the Wildcats into flyouts and groundouts.
“I am,” Fernald said, asked if she was happy with her performance, “but I really rely on the team; they’re the backbone to me. They prove how hard they work, when I pitch. It’s just good to have them behind me. There was a lot of contact, but they made plays behind me. That’s the intensity we look for.”
Murch played first, Ellery Hunt second, Weese third, Brooke Harriman short, Arianna Libby left, Mindy Murphy center and Silke right. The team committed just one error.
“This is a team that has to play together as a group,” Rivet said, asked who contributed a standout performance. “We don’t necessarily have that shining star. But it all started today with our Maddie Rock: She made a diving catch on a foul ball with runners on base, and that just seemed to really trigger the entire defense. She’s been our, kind of like our, emotional leader. She’s one of our captains, she’s hit like three homeruns this season.”
Rock demurred, asked about her role in juicing the defense. “I feel like I have an influence, but I really rely on everyone else to get it going. And I try to help all of us let go of our mistakes and make the next play.”
Rivet also complimented Fernald. “Haley did a great job today, making big pitches with runners in scoring position.”
Critically, York committed six errors. The Wildcats also stranded numerous girls over the course of the game, as they hashed five hits, but only ever managed to bring Blondin home. A major injury had also hobbled York’s hopes before they even took to the field: Their ace pitcher recently broke her arm.
“Obviously, York’s a different team without their starting pitcher,” Rivet said. “They’re sophomore pitcher is amazing; she throws really hard. When she broke her arm, it was tough for them.”
“We understood that their starting pitcher unfortunately broke her arm,” Rock said. “So we anticipated, firstly, that she was going to make it difficult for us, but then she broke her arm and we just focused on hitting the ball and making defensive plays.”
Lake Region sees York again post-haste: The team’s very next contest is on the road vs. the Wildcats. That game is slated for Friday the 25th. The Lakers then host Greely on the 29th. A second win over York may not be enough to usher Lake Region into the postseason, so their fate might hinge in the end on their efforts vs. the No. 8 Rangers. Lake Region fell 8-5 when they first faced off with Greely, back in early May.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Haley Fernald threw a five-hitter and gave up just one run in LRHS’s big win over York.
Savannah Silke takes a cut at the plate for the Lakers.
Chantel Symonds pinch-ran for the Lakers. She didn’t quite make it home on this play, but she gave it the old college try.
Jordan Weese leaps off third, headed for home; Weese would momentarily score.
Monday was senior night for the Lakers. Here, Regina Ramsey carries a flower over to her mother.