LHS comes up short against undefeated Silver Lake
If Silver Lake is one of the best softball teams in the state, then Lansing High has good reason to believe it also belongs among the state's elite.
The Lions (14-6) dropped a pair of 3-2 games against the two-time defending champion Eagles.
With the close wins, Silver Lake improved to 20-0 on the season, but the victories didn't come without a stiff challenge from Lansing.
Fresh off locking up a share of the Kaw Valley League title on Wednesday with an extra innings thriller against Basehor-Linwood, LHS came out ready to play a tough twinbill. That's exactly what happened.
Lansing took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one when senior catcher Nichole Twitchel smashed a solo home run. The lead grew to 2-0 in the fifth inning when senior Dana Sanders singled and later scored on a base hit by senior Nicole Holland. For a while it appeared that would be enough to win the game. Freshman pitcher Brittney Lang worked a one-hitter through six innings. Two walks, an error and a fourth-inning single were the only ways Silver Lake put runners on base up to that point.
Silver Lake rallied in the bottom of the seventh, though. It used an error and a walk to put runners on base. A two-run double then tied the game and forced extra innings.
Sophomore Morgan Chiles doubled and senior Jessica Stark singled to start the inning. Both then advanced on a wild pitch. That gave LHS runners on second and third with no outs, but a pop fly and two strikeouts left the runners stranded. In the bottom of the eighth, two errors allowed the winning run to score.
Lang threw a three-hitter and struck out 11 in the loss. Chiles and Sanders led Lansing with two hits apiece.
Game two was more of a back-and-forth battle. Sanders took the mound in the nightcap and forced the Eagles to hit numerous ground balls. The problem was the Lions had equal trouble generating offense.
Silver Lake took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning after stringing together back-to-back hits. Lansing answered with two run in the top of the fifth, though, as Sanders singled and Lang blasted a two-run homer that gave LHS the lead. Silver Lake again answered. The Eagles tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth, took the lead in the top of the sixth and then forced the Lions to strand the tying run on first in the seventh.
Sanders allowed seven hits and struck out five in the loss. Lang provided the most offensive support as she contributed two hits.
Lansing will learn its postseason fate Saturday morning at the Class 5A seeding meeting at Turner High School. The Lions are expected to be either a No. 2- or No. 3-seed in regional action.