Lake Forest erupts in 7th to hand Smyrna first softball loss 4-2

Mya Maddox

Mya Maddox

SMYRNA — The ball was rocketing off Lake Forest High’s bats on Wednesday.

For six innings, though, those hard shots kept finding the gloves of Smyrna High players.

It wasn’t until the seventh inning when the Spartans got some balls to drop.

Lake Forest scored four runs in its final turn at bat for a 4-2 Henlopen Conference softball victory over the Eagles to deal Smyrna its first loss of the season. Lake Forest improved to 11-4 overall while Smyrna dropped to 9-1.

“I can definitely say Smyrna has a great defense and they played really well,” said Lake coach Ashlie Tatman. “It just felt like they were playing in the perfect spots. We came out and hit the ball really well, and eventually those hits are going to fall in. I’m proud of the girls for not giving up and staying within themselves.”

Grace Aguilar started the Lake Forest rally with a bunt-single to leadoff the seventh. Mya Maddox was up next and also squared around before bunting her first attempt foul.

Maddox then swung away, launching a liner to the opposite field which hit the line in left for a double to score Aguilar and cut Smyrna’s lead to 2-1. Eventually Maddox stole third and Brooke Glanden stole second a few pitches later to have two runners in scoring position with one out.

But like they had so many times on the day, Smyrna used a tremendous defensive play to prevent some runs. Smyrna leftfielder Tayler John made a leaping catch in the gap for the second out, while also managing to hold Maddox at third.

Before Smyrna had time to celebrate John’s play, Brittany Baker knocked a base-hit up the middle to tie the game on the first pitch of her at-bat.
Faith Garey followed with another single to score the go-ahead run before Kayla Thompson doubled the lead with a blooper for another RBI-single.

“Going into the final inning we just wanted to swing level and try to hit into spots where they weren’t,” Garey said. “I was just trying to find a hole and hit it up the middle.”

Smyrna put two runners on in the bottom half of the inning, but Lake pitcher Kaitlyn Stahre forced a soft liner to second for the final out.

The contest featured the Henlopen Northern Division leaders (Smyrna) against the Henlopen South’s top team (Lake Forest) entering Wednesday. It gives the Spartans a signature win after dropping a game to Laurel (3-7) on Friday.

“We really wanted to make a statement,” Maddox said. “After that loss to Laurel, we wanted to show people that’s not who we are and that’s not how we play.”

“We really needed that win after a humiliating loss against Laurel,” Tatman said. “We played like ourselves today and it’s a really good win. It’s really rewarding and I think it makes a statement”

Smyrna scored both of its runs in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Sara Miller and a RBI-groundout by Olivia Faragher.

The Eagles held the lead behind three catches on well-hit balls into the gaps by centerfielder Kaelyn Press. Smyrna also escaped a jam in the fifth on a diving stop by shortstop Taylor Cappella for a force out at second.

Lake Forest’s luck on batted balls finally changed in the seventh.

“We were hitting solid all game and nothing was falling for us,” Maddox said. “We knew we had to do it in seventh. There’s always that one inning that we pull it together, but this game in particular we really picked each other up and that helped our momentum rise instead of fall.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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