Lancers get revenge to head to state - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Lancers get revenge to head to state

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Up one run, with just one out in the bottom of the seventh and with two opposing base-runners on, Lakeshore's softball season looked like it may end the same way it did last year; in the MHSAA quarterfinals to Tecumseh.

One swing later though, the Lancers were able to get the revenge they had hoped for since last year's heartbreaking loss.

An Indians batter hit a line drive directly to Lakeshore first basemen Rachel Clem, who snagged the hit out of mid-air to get one out and then stepped on first to put the Tecumseh base-runner out who failed to tag up. Double play. Ball game.

For the first time since 2011 the Lakeshore Lancers are heading to the MHSAA State Finals in East Lansing with a 5-4 win over Tecumseh.

"I don't even know how to explain that moment," said Lancers senior pitcher Haley Thibeault, who still remembers the tears shed after last year's 5-1 loss to the Indians. "I ran over to [Clem] and she was the first person I hugged after that. I told her she has the golden glove award for this game."

Clem, a junior at Lakeshore, said she wanted to make sure she played well in the field in the final inning after struggling at the plate during the game. She added stepping on first before the runner at her bag could get back was just her natural instinct.

"Its unbelievable," said Clem. "My team is just awesome. This has been our goal, it's what we wanted. It's what we've been working every single day for."

The last play was not the only time the nerves were high for the Lancers. Heading into the fourth inning they trailed Tecumseh 4-1, but they rallied off three runs to tie the game.

Feeling more comfortable at the plate in the next inning, freshman Hunter Thibeault, came up with the biggest hit of the game. The second baseman singled to bring in Toni Priebe and take the lead at 5-4 for good.

"It was really exciting," said Hunter Thibeault. "My mind was just blank, so I couldn't really think, but now that I think of it, I'm like freaking out."

Prior to the game, Lakeshore head coach Denny Dock had questioned whether or not his team could play with enough grit to win a close game. He had said after winning the regional championship his team needed to have more swagger. Sure enough he got what he wanted from his team.

"You know would I like to win 10-0 every time? Of course," said Dock. "But when you get [close wins], and you just hang in there and in there, it's a good feeling."

Tuesday night the Lancers planned to enjoy the win, after all they waited an entire season for this moment. However, Wednesday it's back to work for a team who is not ready for their season to end in Thursday's Division Two State Semifinal.

"It doesn't matter who we play we're coming for them," said senior shortstop Alex Forsythe, who is hoping to see her team win the state championship.

Lakeshore is set to play Croswell-Lexington High School 5:00 PM Thursday. The winner will advance to the state title game.
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