A three-run ninth inning propelled Lakeland past Fairfield, 3-0 and into the championship game of the Class 3A softball sectional being played in Benton.
A single by Ashlynn Grubb, an error on a bunt by Lexie Myers and an infield hit by Morgan Meyers loaded the bases with one out in the Lady Laker ninth. Jill Mingus then lofted a fly ball to right field which dropped in to score Grubb with the game’s initial run.
After a fielder’s choice cut down Myers at the plate, Karissa Troyer hit a grounder to Fairfield pitcher Morgan Miller. But the Lady Falcon first baseman dropped Miller’s throw, allowing Meyers and Ashtin Kaminer to score.
Grubb, who allowed just two hits in the game, then closed out the Lady Falcons in the bottom of the ninth to secure the semifinal triumph. Grubb fanned nine Fairfield batters and did not walk any in pushing her season record to 19-9.
Kizzie Trinh led the Lady Lakers at the plate with a double and a single. Mingus, McKibben, Grubb, Meyers and Carolyn Hershberger all had one hit.
Miller and Riley Troyer each had a hit for Fairfield, which closes the campaign at 23-8.
Lakeland, now 19-12, will face Wawasee in the championship game Thursday at 7 p.m. The Lady Warriors downed NorthWood, 7-0 in the other semifinal Tuesday.
Coach Sherry Severson’s Lady Lakers blanked Tippecanoe Valley, 10-0 Monday night in the opening round of the sectional.
Grubb went 4-4 at the plate with a double and four RBI. Meyers was 3-3 with a double, Hershberger and Abby Bustos each collected two hits, Lexie Myers delivered a hit and an RBI, and McKibben plated a run.
Tippecanoe Valley managed just one hit off of Grubb, who whiffed seven and walked one.