Eight errors were too much to overcome as No. 8 Lakeshore saw its season end Tuesday afternoon at home, falling to No. 9 Buckeye 9-2 in the Class 4A softball regional round.
With the win, Buckeye advances to the state quarterfinals later this week. It will travel to take on No. 16 Tioga, which upset top-seeded Leesville 11-4 on Monday.
Pushing across unearned runs in the first and second innings, Buckeye made it a 4-0 game in the fourth with two runs on two hits. Starting pitcher Layni Smith drove in a run with an RBI single, and two batters later Maddie Dauzart reached on an error scoring designated player Alexis Smith.
The Titans (16-8) scored their two runs in the fourth inning. With two outs, shortstop Alara Taylor walked to break up Smith’s perfect game in the circle. Lakeshore starting pitcher Cara Rankin followed with a double and third baseman Jade Parker made it a 4-2 affair when she launched a two-run double into right center field, scoring Taylor and Rankin.
Buckeye (15-10) answered with an insurance run of its own in the sixth inning on an RBI single by first baseman Abby Thompson, scoring Shelby Edgeworth. The Panthers broke the game open in the seventh, scoring four runs on five hits to make it 9-2.
“We just couldn’t really get things going at the plate today and too many mental errors,” Parker said. “Once (Buckeye) started scoring the runs like they did, I think it just got to us. It got in our heads and we really just couldn’t get things going.”
Concluding her career in a Lakeshore High uniform, Miller, who is set to sign with Belhaven College on Wednesday, said she hopes she has left the Titan program in better shape than when she arrived.
“Definitely not the way I wanted to end my prep career,” Miller said. “The future of this program is extremely bright, and I look forward to seeing them achieve success in the years to come. This game was just so frustrating, we didn’t hit the ball well and we didn’t make plays that we are used to making. It’s a tough loss.”
Smith picked up the win for Buckeye, allowing two runs on two hits while walking two.