Playoff picture fades: Falcons face must-win situation after loss
Playoff hopes for the Forest Lake Christian softball team rested largely on beating Central Valley Christian League foe Victory Christian Monday afternoon.
Both teams entered the contest with just two league losses with Forest Lake Christian still having to play undefeated Woodland Christian once more. Only the top two teams in the league qualify for postseason play.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, their bats came alive too late in the game to give them that beneficial shove in the right direction in the playoff race as they lost to Victory Christian 13-8 on their home diamond.
The loss puts Forest Lake Christian in a must-win position against Woodland Christian in addition to needing Victory Christian to lose to Sacramento Lutheran and Faith Christian.
Tuesday’s game began with excitement as the Falcons and the Vikings each put one a run on the board in the first inning. Victory Christian didn’t stop there, however, adding one more run in the second, two in the third and another in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ bats went cold, putting them behind 5-1 going into the fifth inning.
Forest Lake Christian’s starting pitcher Christel Johnson, battling a headache, left the game after four innings with sophomore Bethany Huusfeldt replacing her on the mound. Lauren Schrack came in to pitch the final out of the fifth inning.
A dangerous combination of walks, passed balls and errors dominated the fifth inning, allowing the Vikings to score eight runs. The Falcons looked to be dangerously close to having the game called after five innings according to the run rule.
Going into the bottom of the fifth the Falcons trailed 13-1.
Huusfeldt, however, got things started with a leadoff single through the left side of the infield with Rebecca Farnum drawing a walk.
Senior captain Jessica Lockhart then crushed a bases-clearing triple to deep right center to put the Falcons back to within 10.
By the end of the inning, Forest Lake Christian was able to score five runs making the score 13-6.
“We definitely needed that (scoring) earlier to stay in the game and keep the girls pumped up,” Forest Lake Christian coach Dave Lockhart said.
The inning seemed to spark the Falcons on defense as they did not allow another run in the final two innings and scored two more of their own in the bottom of the sixth.
Lockhart, whose play drew post-game praise from the Victory Christian coaching staff, ended up a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs in addition to reaching on an error while drawing a walk.
Lindsey Richert and Lindsey Engbrecht were both 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks.
“I think we just came into the game with our heads down as though we couldn’t do anything and that eight-run inning didn’t help,” Dave Lockhart said.
The Falcons travel to Woodland Christian either Thursday or Friday afternoon.
To contact sportswriter Stacy Hicklin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
Victory AB R H RI
V. Pirkle, 1b 4 2 1 1
Brown, 3b 2 2 2 0
S. Pirkle, ss 3 1 1 1
Tillman, p 3 2 1 0
Carroll, 2b 4 1 2 0
Moiser, c 3 1 1 1
Leighton, cf 4 3 2 2
Sawusch, 3b 1 1 0 0
Snook, lf 3 0 0 2
Sweeney, ph 2 0 2 1
Totals 29 13 7 8
FLC AB R H RI
Farnum, 2b 3 1 1 0
Lockhart, ss 2 2 2 2
Engbrecht, c 2 2 1 0
Richert, lf 2 2 1 1
Sanders, 1b 3 0 1 2
Schrack, 3b 3 0 1 1
Johnson, p 2 0 0 0
Siegalkoff, ph 2 0 0 0
Moore, cf 3 0 0 1
Huusfeldt, rf 3 1 1 0
Totals 25 8 7 7
VC 112 180 0 – 13
FLC 100 052 0 – 8
LOB – VC 13, FLC 8.
IP H R W K
Tillman 7 7 8 10 7
Forest Lake Christian
Johnson 4 8 5 4 3
Huusfeldt 2/3 1 8 4 0
Schrack 2 1/3 3 0 1 0
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