RAF ALCONBURY, England – Lakenheath was in probably the worst position a softball team can be in: Last inning of the last game of the regular season, two outs and down three runs to Alconbury on Saturday.
The Lancers had already won the first game 9-7, but the Dragons had led the second since the fifth inning. The seventh inning looked like just a formality, until Lakenheath’s Lexi Knupp stepped up to bat.
Her hit deep into left field, which drove in two runs, started a tidal change. Breonna Ruffin and Alli Midthun followed by batting their way on.
Brianna Landvik brought Ruffin in to tie the game, and Arianna Lemieux finished the game with a hit into left field that gave the Lancers a 13-12 victory.
Lakenheath coach Gregg Thomas attributed the last-minute comeback to adjusting to the pitching. Thomas said his team had been batting against faster pitching, not the slower style of Alconbury.
“When we run into someone who doesn’t pitch fast, the timing thing is all wrong, and so I’m guessing that it just took most of the afternoon to get synced,” Thomas said.
The two victories cemented Lakenheath’s 2013 winning regional record, bringing them to 9-5 and gave Alconbury a losing record of 6-8.
Alconbury coach Kurt Miller said his team made some mental mistakes, such as runners leaving bases without watching to see if the ball was caught, but they plan to practice before next week’s European championships.
“Well, I think we’ll be in pretty good shape, I think taking the things that we learned from this game and adding that to where we’ve come, I think for playing Division III, I think we should be OK,” Miller said.