ORLEANSâ€“The Lake Region softball team rallied in the first to tie the game, the bottom of the sixth, which eventually forced extra innings, the eighth to push the game to the ninth, but in the bottom of the ninth they could not come up with enough runs to force a tenth as they lost a well played game to the Peoples Academy Wolves on Prom Saturday.
"We kept coming back and coming back. Even though we lost, I think it bodes well for us," coach Matt Tinker said after the game.
The Lady Rangers battled all game long, and it started in the first.
Already down a run thanks to Kaleigh Newtonâ€™s triple and a Haillie Williams RBI single, Lake Region tied the game up in their half of the first when Sabrina Roberge scored on a Peoples' error.
After that both pitchers put the offense on lockdown.
Peoples' Jamie Strek struck out five batters over the next four innings, frustrating the Ranger hitters.
Michelle Thibeault was equal to the task, impressing her coach along the way.
"Michelle threw a heck of a game and she deserved a better fate than this.â€ť
Peoples finally broke the tie in the fifth when Strek helped out her own cause, singling and scoring the go ahead run.
In the sixth Callie Cashin reached on an error, stole second, went to third on a past ball and came across the plate on Sarah Burnham's infield single.
Burnham would get all the way top third, but LR couldnâ€™t get her home and we were off to the seventh.
Neither team scored in the seventh, and with hair appointments and dinner reservations looming, the game headed to extra innings.
With one out in the eighth, Williams singled to put the go-ahead run on base. She then took off and swiped second. Olivia Pierce moved her over third as the Rangers got the second out going 6-3.
It looked like like the girls in blue were going to get out of the inning unscathed when a soft grounder was hit to Kayla Royer, but the ball got away from her on the throw allowing Williams to come home.
Lake Region retired the next batter and headed into the bottom half of the eighth needing one to tie and two to win.
It was Burnham getting it going for the Rangers in the eighth with a single. Speedster Haley Kennedy came into pinch-run for Sarah and took third on Steph Merchant's double.
Slick fielding Whitney Poginy let her bat do the talking this time, driving in Kennedy to once again bring the Rangers back from the brink.
"Hey, I got on base. I was pretty nervous but it was pretty exciting," Poginy said about the hit.
From there it was on to the ninth where errors were Lake Region's undoing.
Four unearned runs crossed the plate, and the home team had a large obstacle to overcome if they wanted the game to continue.
Corrina Cota broke out her recent funk and singled. She stole second and in what seemed to be a common thread for the Rangers, took third on a past ball.
Royer walked and stole second. With two on and one out, clean up hitter Alyssa Royer ripped one down the third base line scoring Cota.
Lake Region brought the tying run to the plate twice more, but Peoples hung on for the win.
Tinker spoke with his team earlier in the day and his words came to fruition.
"We talked before the game that defense was either going to make or break the game, and they scored four runs in the ninth without the benefit of a hit."
Lake Region now stands at 4-7, and with four games remaining, Tinker is looking to get his team in to a good place to start the play-offs.
"At this point we are looking at positioning. We would like to get into the top eight and get a home game. Realisitcally I would like to take three out of the next four and finish somewhere in that seven to ten range."
Lyndon is next up for the Lake Region as the Vikings come to town this Tuesday.
Game time is 4:30.