LAGRANGE – When it rains in Lagrange, it pours. A rain delay surrounded a steady reign from Fairfield Tuesday at the Lakeland Softball Sectional as the Falcons left the Tippecanoe Valley Vikings all wet in a 16-3 drubbing in the first game of the sectional semis.
Fairfield jumped on the board in the first inning with two runs before the rain came, then unloaded on Tippy in the second inning. Scoring a whopping 13 runs, led by homers from DJ Martz and Alex DeWitt, the Falcons had 13 hits in the inning ending any doubt in the matter.
Valley responded in the third with its only three runs, highlighted by a run-scoring triple from Lauren Early. The Vikings (6-19) could muster just four hits – two by Darian Dotson – in the game as it bows out of the softball tournament.
Fairfield starter Danica Mast continued her fine postseason, allowing just two hits in three innings, striking out three, giving way to Lauren Miller to mop up the final two innings. Mast was masterful Monday night in Fairfield’s 8-0 win over Wawasee, tossing a three-hitter.
Tippecanoe Valley starter Kassidy Shepherd shouldered the loss, allowing 15 runs on 14 hits after throwing an efficient game Monday night in Valley’s 9-4 win over NorthWood.
Game two saw the host and defending sectional champion Lakeland Lakers ride the arm of stud pitcher Ashlynn Grubb, who struck out 10, to get past West Noble 6-3 in a game that ended after 11 p.m. local time.
Grubb, Lakeland’s all-time leading strikeout holder with over 1,000 punch-outs, allowed just four hits and gave up no earned runs while driving in two runs at the plate. Lakeland also had RBIs from Ashton Miller, Madison Campbell and Jill Mingus, of which the RBI singles from Grubb and Mingus in the fifth gave Lakeland a 5-2 cushion.
West Noble’s Kelsie Peterson had two hits and scored a run and worked all seven innings in the circle, striking out five.
Lakeland (22-6) will meet Fairfield (18-8) for the sectional championship Thursday night, a 7 p.m. first pitch.