Emily Orban of Lake Mills tosses a pitch against Belmond-Klemme in the first round of the Regional Tournament. Lake Mills won 7-3 to advance. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune
Emily Orban of Lake Mills tosses a pitch against Belmond-Klemme in the first round of the Regional Tournament. Lake Mills won 7-3 to advance. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Gallery: Advancing to round 2

Published 10:17pm Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lake Mills beats Belmond-Klemme for the 3rd time this year

LAKE MILLS — The Lake Mills softball team advanced past Belmond-Klemme Tuesday with a 7-3 win over the Broncos in the first round of the Region 2 tournament of Class 2A.

The first run of the game was driven in by Megan Johnson, and the Bulldogs held a 2-1 lead through the first two innings.

The Lake Mills defense bent but did not break early in the game. Belmond-Klemme was limited to one run in the second, third and fourth innings.

“After we had a few errors, we regrouped,” Lake Mills head coach Rick Orban said. “They got one run, we got the outs, and we got out of the innings. We played pretty good defense from the second inning on.”

The Broncos took their first lead of the game in the fourth (3-2), but the Bulldogs responded with two runs in the fifth to take the lead right back.

Jurnee Peña made her way around the bases on a triple by Amelia Evenson, and Evenson scored on one of Sarah Orban’s two doubles.

“We loaded the bases twice previously, and we just couldn’t get a hit to get going,” coach Orban said. “I just told the girls that it will come, because we’ve hit the ball well all year.

“The girls said they could do it, and they never gave up at any point in the game.”

After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams, Lake Mills put itself in the driver’s seat in the top of the seventh. The Bulldogs had runners on second and third with no outs en route to adding three more runs.

Lake Mills pitcher Emily Orban held Belmond-Klemme at bay in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.

Orban went the distance as the Bulldogs’ pitcher. She struck out five batters and allowed one walk.

“Emily pitched one heck of a game, and the girls continued to hit the ball well,” coach Orban said.

Sarah Orban led the Bulldogs at the plate with three hits and a pair of RBIs, and Johnson added three hits and an RBI.

“We have kids of all ages on the team, and we try to be leaders out there — the three seniors,” Johnson said.

The senior trio is Johnson, Peña and Randi Dilly.

“The seniors really stepped up,” Lake Mills head coach Rick Orban said. “I was proud of all three of them. They were very focussed.”

The Bulldogs swept the home and away series with the Broncos 12-3 and 10-4 during the regular season.

In the second round of the the tournament, Lake Mills will play North Union, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, at Swea City at 7 p.m. today. The Bulldogs will try to repeat last season’s postseason win over the Warriors. In 2012, Lake Mills was swept by North Union 6-0 and 8-0 in the regular season, but the Bulldogs upset the Warriors 9-7 in the regional tournament before losing to Emmetsburg 3-1.

“I’ve told the girls that we’ve got nothing to lose,” coach Orban said. “If we go in and play good defense and maybe get a run early maybe deja vu will come back.

“We’ve done it once, and we can do it again. The girls believe they can, and that’s the main thing.”

Lake Mills is 13-13 overall, and North Union has an overall record of 31-2.