NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Lake Erie looked to have its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win of the season wrapped up in Saturday's opener against Lake Superior (Mich.), but late life by the Lakers turned that game into a Storm loss and an eventual sweep for Superior.
Lake Erie let a last-inning, 6-3 lead slip away in the opener. The Lakers (4-10, 3-5 GLIAC) took the nightcap by a score of 5-1.
Lindsay Valvoda was LEC's top bat on the day; she went 5-of-8 with an RBI over the two games played at Walsh University. LSSU hitters blasted four home runs on the day.
Game 1 Amanda Anderson started the opener for Lake Erie (3-16, 0-8) and was staked to a 1-0 lead when the Storm turned two hits and a Laker error into an unearned run in the top of first. Left fielder Lindsay Valvoda had one of those LEC hits, and in the bottom of the inning helped Anderson protect the early lead by making a tremendous diving catch on a liner down the line. Another Laker error led to another Storm run in the second.
The score would remain 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Valvoda, Hannah Francis and Darrian Yanek turned two hits and a grounder into a solo run. The Lakers nearly scored in the bottom of the fifth, but a would-be two-out passed ball was turned into a Nicole Grimmett-to-Anderson putout at the plate. That big play seemed to feed into a rally at the plate when LEC pushed across two in the top of the sixth.
A home run, three singles and two Storm errors turned the game into a 5-3 affair in the bottom of the sixth. Lake Erie got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh, and the Storm went into the final half-inning leading, 6-3.
In that bottom of the seventh, LSSU bats came alive. The Lakers batted around and were only retired twice. They scored five runs, getting home runs from Amanda Maxon and Allison Traczyk and a game-winning single off the bat of Haleigh Edgar. A Storm error contributed to the rally, which came against first Anderson and then reliever Darrian Yanek.
For the game LSSU went 4-of-8 with runners in scoring position. The Lakers outhit LEC, 15-10. Lindsay Valvoda went 4-for-4 in the loss.
Game 2 The Lakers' offensive exploits carried over into the nightcap. Carly Banchiu tripled in a run in the first inning, and an Allison Traczyk home run was the centerpiece of a three-run third for Lake Superior. Starter Alyssa Boucher held Lake Erie scoreless until the fourth when freshman catcher Elizabeth Karako clubbed her first career home run, a solo shot to left.
With LSSU leading, 5-1, Lake Erie loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth. But the Storm came up empty and went into the final two frames trailing by four. The 5-1 score would hold up as a final.
Saturday's games were played at Walsh Field in North Canton, Ohio, due to unplayable fields at LSSU and LEC. The games were Lake Erie's seventh and eighth this season at Walsh.
Notes: Center fielder Maddi Klemp had two stolen bases on the day. She is 7-for-7 in stealing bases on the season. … Second baseman Hannah Francis had hits in both games. Francis has now hit safely in four straight. … LEC's six runs in the opener marked their most in five games. The Storm had scored a combined three runs over their four previous games. … Elizabeth Karako's home run in game two marked LEC's sixth round-tripper of the season and the team's first since March 22.