Lakewood splits early tests

Lakewood outfielder Stephanie Kushner dodges a ball thrown a bit too far inside. Kushner was walked in this at bat, as an errant pitch hit her foot. -
Lakewood outfielder Stephanie Kushner dodges a ball thrown a bit too far inside. Kushner was walked in this at bat, as an errant pitch hit her foot.
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LAKEWOOD After spending much of last season playing catch-up with league rivals Granite Falls, Cedarcrest and Archbishop Murphy, Lakewood fastpitch has a new attitude toward those teams this year.
After scoring four runs to defeat Granite Falls in their season opener March 17, Lakewood put up a fight before falling to defending league champ Murphy 2-1 two days later.
Murphy struck first blood with two hits in the first inning, but the Lakewood defense held and the home team started to gain traction when freshman second baseman Mariah Smith got a hit to lead off the Cougars in the bottom of the third inning. Smith stole second base, allowing her to put Lakewood up 1-0 when sophomore shortstop Kahlee Barrio hit an RBI single two bats later.
But small fielding errors started to add up in the Wildcats favor. After starting out with two hits, Murphy pitcher Brittany Allen scored on her third attempt, an error allowing her third base and positioning her to score off Jaimee Greenups RBI in the fifth inning.
Lakewood buckled down to keep it a tie game and force an eighth inning, but once again, errors confounded the home team. Greenup hit another single, while errors advanced her around the bases. Murphy threatened to make it a 3-1 game as Kristin Ehlebracht got as far as third, but Lakewoods Kally Behen and Hayley Bustad combined to get the last two outs at first base.
In the bottom of the eighth, Lakewood came up to bat needing a run to tie and two to win.
Outfielder Emily Burkholder smacked a single, giving Lakewood hope. Her pinch runner Christina Ordonez advanced to second as Allen walked Behen, but as Lakewood went for third, Murphy catcher Marya Oestrich got the stop with a pass to third base. First baseman Hayley Bustad got another single for Lakewood, but with two outs, the Lakewood rally fell short when Allen threw a final strikeout to end the Cougars hopes.
With our two games this week, we proved we can hang with the best teams, said Lakewood coach Steve Barker. We did make some mistakes. On Monday (against Granite Falls) we didnt make any errors all game. We played airtight.
Barker had a great deal of praise for the freshman Smith, who had the Cougars only run of the game, adding of his pitcher-catcher team, Kally and Becca just worked really well together. With their play, well be in a lot of games.
While no Lakewood player had more than one hit against Archbishop Murphy, senior catcher Becca Bean went 3-for-4 and sophomore third baseman Amanda Bean was 2-for-4 against Granite Falls. Behen threw 13 strikeouts in that contest.
Lakewood gets a rematch against Archbishop Murphy April 7.

At Lakewood H.S.

AB Murphy 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2
Lakewood 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1

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