EDWARDSBURG — Lakeshore softball got key hits from its one senior and several juniors, and big pitching performances from a sophomore and a freshman to claim another Division 2 regional title Saturday.
Lakeshore defeated Vicksburg 5-2 in the championship game after topping Olivet 10-2 in the semfinals.
“We had a lot of kids come through, big time,” Lakeshore coach Denny Dock said. “A lot of kids contributing now.”
Lakeshore (31-10) advances to play Spring Lake at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals at Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
Lakeshore trailed Vicksburg for most of the championship game. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the first inning, and the Lancers didn’t tie it until the bottom of the fifth on a home run by junior Sierra Ciesielski.
Junior Laney Mead put Lakeshore ahead for good with a solo shot in the sixth, and senior Nadia Amicarelli added a two-run single later in the inning that gave the Lancers some breathing room.
“A couple of home runs there,” Dock said. “Sierra got us going with one, Laney got one, and then Nadia got the biggest hit of the year.”
Amicarelli’s hit was her only one of the day.
“It felt really good,” Amicarelli said. “I was popping up all game, not doing very well. I was like ‘You know what? Something’s got to change.’ I made an adjustment and it was exciting.”
The Lancers then relied on freshman pitcher Gianna Kerschbaum to finish off the victory.
“We just trust each other so much, even the freshmen,” Amicarelli said. “We all have so much confidence in our freshmen.”
Kerschbaum threw the final 4 2/3 innings of the championship game, striking out seven while not allowing a hit.
“Gianna came in and just shut the door big time,” Dock said. “That was huge. We played good defense. Just getting ahead of hitters is critical, no matter what.”
Kerschbaum was also the winning pitcher in the opener, throwing the first four innings with seven strikeouts.
The Lancers used a total of five pitchers. Olivet had the bases loaded in the top of the fifth trailing 8-2, but sophomore Grace Connelly came in and ended the threat with a strikeout. She then struck out the side in the sixth.
“Momentum had kind of changed a little bit, and Grace came in there and stuck some good pitches in there,” Dock said. “You look at our bench, and there’s a good chance somebody’s going to get a chance.”
Lakeshore was in control throughout the first game, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. Junior Isabella Najera had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the offense.
Lakeshore 5, Vicksburg 2
Lakeshore 001 013 0 — 5 8 0
Vicksburg 200 000 0 — 2 3 2
WP — Gianna Kerschbaum 7k. LP — Hannah Vallier.
Top hitters — Lakeshore: Sierra Ciesielski 2b, solo HR; Isabella Najera 2 1b; Laney Mead 2b, HR, 2 RBIs; Nadia Amicarelli 1b, 2 RBIs.
Lakeshore 10, Olivet 2
Olivet 002 000 0 — 2 4 2
Lakeshore 500 302 x — 10 12 0
WP — Kerschbaum 7k. LP — Shyann Truax 6k.
Top hitters — Olivet: Peyton Lehman 2 1b; Truax 2b, 2 RBIs. Lakeshore: Najera 1b, 2 2b, 3 RBIs; Mead 2 1b, 2b, 2 RBIs; Meghan Younger 1b, 2 RBIs; Anna Chellman 2 1b, RBI.
Record — Lakeshore 31-10.
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSanders