Joiner, Stahre shut down Blue Raiders in Lake’s softball season finale

BRIDGEVILLE – In one last tune-up ahead of the 2018 DIAA state tournament, the Lake Forest High softball program shut down the Woodbridge Blue Raiders, 8-2, in the team’s season-finale Tuesday, May 15.

Sophomore Kayley Joiner earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, surrendering just a pair of runs on seven hits in her 5.0 innings pitched. Senior Katie Stahre stepped in to pitch two scoreless relief innings to cement the win for the Lady Spartans (12-6).

“I was proud of myself today. I stuck through, didn’t give up too many hits and I think we played well as a team. It was a hot one today, but we pulled through,” Joiner said following the win.

Sophomore Kayley Joiner is all smiles during her five-inning outing against Woodbridge Tuesday, May 15 (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“I think she did well,” added head coach Ashlie Tatman of Joiner’s performance. “She’s only a sophomore, so she’s definitely improved the longer she’s been with us and there’s no doubt that she’s going to stay focused and that she’s going to be a big asset for us in the long run.”

Joiner made the start in the pitcher’s circle in order to give Stahre a bit of a break heading into the state tournament, which is set to get underway this Saturday, May 19.

“We just wanted to switch some things up and give Katie a little bit of time and to move some other girls around in the field,” said coach Tatman.

Stahre threw 31 pitches and struck out a pair of hitters in her two innings of relief work.

“I’m happy she did well, I’m proud of her,” Stahre said of Joiner. “It’s nice having a break and our defense definitely played well too – that’s how you win games, with defense.”

Senior shortstop Brittany Baker went 3-for-4 from the plate with a pair of runs scored and an RBI; Stahre and fellow senior Brooke Glanden each recorded a pair of hits; juniors Grace Aguilar and Abigail Collins both drove in a pair of runs.

“I think their confidence-level is high right now,” coach Tatman said of her varsity team. “I think we ended the season pretty well. We had some kinks to work out with the freshmen coming in and I think right now we’re playing well as a unit so hopefully that rolls into the state tournament.”

Junior Grace Aguilar beats out the throw, safely reaching first base on a bunt single during Lake’s 8-2 victory Tuesday (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

While the team is forced to wait for the bracket to officially be released by the DIAA, Lake has a general idea of where they’ll see themselves being seeded in the field of 16.

“We’re going to be somewhere in the middle going into the playoffs and I hope that we bring our ‘A’ game. We’re really going to rely on the seniors to coach us and really push us through in the state tournament and keep everyone focused and motivated. We’re hoping to play the game that I know we can play,” said coach Tatman.

The senior crop of Stahre, Glanden, Baker and Kayla Thompson made tournament appearances in their freshman, sophomore, junior and, now, senior seasons at Lake.

Last year’s tournament experience – following the team’s 16-2 campaign and No. 2-seeding in the ’17 tournament – will come in handy, and the team’s quarterfinals exit may even serve as some added motivation for this year’s squad.

“We’re really excited. We know we’ve had some bumps in the road this year, but we want to prove everyone wrong and just come out hard [in the tournament],” Stahre said. “I’m definitely focused on my pitching, and just making sure I’m being smart and doing my job for my team. As long as I do my job, they’ll do their job and we’ll just all come together as a team.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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