Panthers end Lake Mills playoff run

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strong defense is what Lake Mills, Iowa, softball head coach Stacie Gaskill wanted from her team all season — she got that Tuesday, but her offense couldn’t respond against Central Springs in a 4-0 loss in the Class 2A Regional Playoffs semifinal game in Belmond, Iowa.

The Bulldogs (25-9) didn’t commit an error in the game, but the offense was limited to five basehits.

Lake Mills advanced one baserunner past second base in the game when Jade Durnil singled and moved to third on two passed balls with two outs in the second inning.

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That was the best the Bulldog offense could do against Panthers starter Danielle Hrubitz who threw seven shutout innings and struck out six to advance her team to the Region 4 final against North Polk who defeated Fort Dodge, St. Edmond 5-0 Tuesday.

“Defensively this was the best game we’ve had all year,” Gaskill said. “Central Springs managed to find the gaps.”

The Panthers, ranked No. 8 in Class 2A, hit a pair of doubles in the fifth inning as they pushed four runs across the plate. Lake Mills starter Josie Brackey gave up a leadoff double to the No. 8 hitter for Central Springs and came around to score on a passed ball. The Panthers added a run on a single, a double and a sacrifice fly for the 4-0 lead.

Brackey struck out six in her seven innings of work and walked just two while allowing seven hits.

“She pitched well,” Gaskill said. “Central Springs is a good hitting team, to keep them down to seven hits is pretty good. She came out and hit her spots well. The tables just weren’t turned our way.”

The game was much closer than the previous two contests between the squads as the Panthers cruised to 7-3 win and a 8-2 win in the first two matchups.

The loss concluded an otherwise successful season for the Bulldogs who had many questions to answer before the season started after losing star pitcher Megan Pederson to graduation.

“Overall the girls were satisfied because everyone had such low expectations for them,” Gaskill said. “No one would thought they would finish second in the conference.”

Central Springs 4, Lake Mills 0

Central Springs – 000 040 0 – 4 7 1

Lake Mills – 000 000 0 – 0 5 0

WP – Danielle Hrubitz 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

LP – Josie Brackey 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K