Prairie Heights and Lakeland punched their tickets to the semifinals of the 2012 NECC softball tournament with triumphs Tuesday evening.
The Lady Panthers bunched together three runs in the third inning and went on to shade Central Noble, 3-1 in Albion. Taylor Combs plated two of the Heights runs with a single. Kayla Feeney tripled home the other marker.
Those runs proved to be enough for Lady Panther hurler Taryn Neff, who held Central Noble to just four hits while striking out three and walking three. Breann Weeks’ RBI double in the fourth was the lone blemish on Neff’s gem.
Samantha Fish led Prairie Heights in hits with two.
Lakeland had a much easier time advancing, as it pounded out 27 hits in whipping Fremont (13-1) and Hamilton (19-3) in LaGrange.
Lauren McKibben plated four runs with a homer and a double in sparking the Lady Lakers against Fremont in the opening contest. Ashlynn Grubb drove in three runs with two doubles and a single. Hannah Myers and Abby Bustos had two hits, and Jill Mingus socked a double.
Grubb tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and one walk.
Mingus left the yard twice and plated five runs for the Lady Lakers in their nightcap romp over Hamilton. McKibben bashed another home run and Grubb totaled three hits.
Grubb worked the first three innings in the pitcher’s circle, fanning seven and walking one. Holly Eaton and Mingus each pitched one frame of relief.
The county’s other entry in the tourney fell in first-round play Tuesday. Host Angola tallied five runs in the second inning en route to a 7-2 triumph over Westview.
Singles by Maddie Kaiser, Tori Smith, Angel Hedglin and Brittany Smith fueled the Lady Hornets’ big inning. Angola tacked on single runs in both the fifth and sixth frames.
Michelle Mowery and Amber Roth singled and scored in the fifth inning to account for Westview’s two markers. Kayla Yoder and Brooke Yoder brought them in with safeties.
Katie Goings got the pitching win, striking out five and walking four in five innings. Erica Zachrich tossed two innings of scoreless relief with two whiffs.
Westview hurler Kaylene Kauffman fanned one and walked two in taking the loss.