Lakeland Christian falls in quest for three-peat

By Katherine Smith, Spectrum Sports
Last Updated: Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Lakeland Christian softball team sported new t-shirts this season.

It featured a catcher flashing the number three sign signifying the Vikings quest for a three-peat.

The two-time defending state champs played with a target all season and John Carroll hit the bullseye Thursday night.

The Lady Rams scored three runs in the sixth to break up a 1-1 tie. The rally helped John Carroll defeat Lakeland Christian 4-1 for the Class 3A state title.

John Carroll loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second. Vikings pitcher Erica Stahl retired the next three batters, including a flipped ball to catcher Caroline Watson for an out at home plate and a strikeout to end the threat.

In the bottom of the second, Vikings outfielder Kelsey Winters put her team on the board with an RBI single to right field that scored Emily McKinney for a 1-0 Lakeland Christian lead.

The Lady Rams tied the game at 1-all in the third thanks to a Vikings throwing error.

A Lakeland Christian throwing error helped put John Carroll runners on second and third in the fifth with just one out. And just when it looked like Ashley Montoya's shot to right was going to put the Rams ahead, Winters made a diving catch and threw out the runner at second base for the double play.

The next inning, the Lady Rams bats exploded to give them the lead for good.

"It just fuels us knowing we've been here three times," Stahl said. "Honestly, that's pretty unheard of. So, it just helps us knowing we can definitely do this next year."