Longhorns softball takes twinbill from Broncs
By KEVIN THOMPSON
LAKIN — They may not be in the same league any more, but the rivalry between Holcomb and Lakin continues.
That manifested itself in Monday's final regular season matchup between the two softball teams, and Holcomb wasn't too nice to the hometown Lady Broncs, sweeping Lakin 9-6 and 7-5.
In game one, Holcomb was up 3-0, when the Broncs let loose with a barrage of singles.
Six straight hits to all parts of the park put Lakin ahead 5-3 after the fourth inning.
The Longhorns answered with a huge fifth inning.
Katie Pfeifer's second double of the game put her and Ashley Mongeau in scoring position. Taylor Deniston plated both on a single.
Four runners scored to put Holcomb up 7-5.
Lakin got one back in the fifth on a pair of errors and base on balls.
Holcomb put the game away in the seventh after Haley Walck homered over center field to drive in Madison Taylor, who had led off with a double to left.
Kenzie Roth got the win, striking out four. Karlee Davidson took the loss.
In game two, Holcomb got ahead early again, let Lakin back in it, and held on again for the win.
Taylor lined a home run over the left field fence to drive in three in the first inning.
Down 5-0 in the third, the Broncs scored four runs on four singles.
But it was all they could put together as the Longhorn defense came through for the sweep.
Holcomb pounded out 19 hits for the night.
Holcomb coach Jennifer Barrett said her girls hadn't been happy lately with their hitting, so they put in extra practice over the weekend, and it paid dividends.
"This was nice that the girls hit the ball really well tonight again," she said. "It's nice that I have a group that wants to put in extra work and extra time."
Pitching also helped, as Roth recorded four strikeouts each game.
Roth is stronger now than earlier in the season, and her change-up is working, Barrett said.
And when Lakin had the winning run at the plate in the second game, the defense shut them down.
"We have girls who understand their roles right now," Barrett said. "They're all doing a nice job supporting each other."
Lakin assistant coach Tonja Ripple saw her team fall to 14-6 but still look good for regional seeding.
All 14 of Lakin's hits were singles, and while they may have been timely, it also means they weren't the big hits they were looking for at times.
"Our girls have been struggling lately with hitting," Ripple said. "We tried some fake bunting and got the girls on. We hit some good balls, but they were right to people, then our confidence gets down."
Defensively, Ripple thought the Broncs played well, but the occasional error offset some key pitching by Davidson.
Playing without head coach Shawn Michaelis, who was attending a funeral, also affected play, Ripple said.
"But what I love about this team is they keep fighting," she added. "Up to the very last out and last pitch, they fight and fight and fight."
Both teams will play in the regional tournament at Southwestern Heights, starting Monday. Seeding will be determined Wednesday.
At 11-6, Holcomb will not be able to make up three regular season games, so they won't be able to raise their record. It means they have to wait and see about Chaparral and Medicine Lodge as the two- and three-seeded teams in the regionals. It means they might get to host a playoff game Monday.
Pitching, hitting and fielding seem to be on at the right time, Barrett said.
"We know that Chaparral is going to be tough. It was good to see Lakin before regionals," she said.
The Heights regional includes Chaparral, Holcomb, Heights, Lakin, Medicine Lodge/South Barber and Scott City. The regional winner advances to the state tournament.
Holcomb 9, Lakin 6
Holcomb 100 240 2 -- 9 11 2
Lakin 000 510 0 -- 6 7 1
WP--K. Roth. LP--Davidson. 2B--Holcomb 3 (Pfeifer 2, Taylor). HR--Holcomb
(Walck). LOB--Holcomb 5, Lakin 6.
Holcomb 302 200 0 -- 7 8 2
Lakin 004 001 -- 5 7 3
WP--K. Roth. LP--Davidson. HR--Holcomb (Taylor). LOB--Holomb 8, Lakin 6.