Playoff prep begins

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The bats of the Lake Mills softball team needed a wake-up call Tuesday night against St. Ansgar at home. They got it in the sixth inning when the Saints scored two runs to take a 2-0 lead, but the Bulldogs rallied back in the bottom half of the inning to win the game 3-2.

“We like to make it exciting,” right fielder Sabrina Roll said. “We always find a way to dig ourselves out.”

Win, lose or draw, the game had little meaning as it had no bearing on the conference championship. Lake Mills played Forest City for the North Iowa Conference title Monday and lost 3-1.

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“Last time when we played Forest City we kind of came already with our heads down,” Bulldogs head coach Stacie Gaskill said. “That’s something they can’t do.”

The game was a makeup for a rainout earlier in the season and both teams turned their focus to preparing for the regional playoffs which begin Thursday.

“We knew they were a good team coming in and that’s why we wanted this game because we knew we need to get some challenging games in before heading into regionals,” Roll said. “That’s what they gave us.”

The game turned into a playoff-like game in the sixth inning when each team made big defensive plays to keep the game close.

Natalie Braun led off with a walk to start the sixth for the Saints and was thrown out at home by Roll to keep the game scoreless. But St. Ansgar came back with an RBI double by Kelley Kittleson to take a 2-0 lead.

Roll started the comeback in the bottom half with a lead off double and scored on a single by Jordyn Brackey. Brackey came around to score on an error and Sara Chodur scored the game-winning run on an error by the Saints’ second baseman.

“We were going into with the attitude that we’re going to just go out there to have fun and we’re going to learn from whatever we do,” Gaskill said. “Both of our teams wanted to play someone that would challenge us and that’s exactly what we did.”

Lake Mills continued to struggle with the bats throughout the first five innings, only getting two hits through five innings.

“Our bats haven’t been very good the last couple of games, but I think we just need to go out with confidence and know that we can hit the ball,” Josie Brackey said.

Brackey was busy on the mound keeping the Saints off the board through five innings. Brackey had a no-hitter through three innings and struck out nine in the game for the win.

Lake Mills 3, St. Ansgar 2

St. Ansgar – 000 002 0 – 2 5 4

Lake Mills – 000 003 x – 3 4 1

WP – Josie Brackey 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

LP – Emily Nolan 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K