Lakeview outslugs Howland

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Ettinger Cait Kelm of Lakeview slides into second as Howland shortstop Sara Price (9) waits for the ball to come down in Cortland on Wednesday.

CORTLAND — Lakeview coach Vicki Lawrence and her coaches have been working with the Bulldogs on manufacturing runs while also stressing they need to get hits in key situations.

They Bulldogs may well have caught on as they downed rival Howland, 13-7, in a rain-shortened contest at home on Wednesday evening.

Lakeview recorded the 13 runs on 11 hits and took advantage of eight walks and six Howland errors while fusing the short game with clutch hitting when runners were in scoring position.

“That’s something we’re getting better at,” Lawrence said. “That’s our one weakness. When we get started, we’ve got to be able to get something. We were able to do that playing small ball and the girls were doing a good job (hitting with runners in scoring position).

“Everything just played out for us. The short game worked, we hit the ball well. Howland is a good team and they were finding some holes. We just found holes more often.”

Lakeview right-hander Cait Kelm fires a pitch against Howland in Cortland on Wednesday.

While Lakeview seemed to be rolling, the Tigers (6-4) appeared to be struggling.

“I don’t know that I can say nothing clicked today,” Howland coach Amanda Toth said. “There were spurts, moments we showed who we are, who we can be. We were up against a well-rounded team, and they will show you that if they take advantage of those small opportunities.”

The Bulldogs (9-2) were set down in order just once and sent a minimum of six batters to the plate during each of its five other at-bats. Each time Howland cut into the lead, Lakeview had an answer.

“That’s something my assistant, Scott (Chronister) told the girls,” Lawrence said. “Every time they scored, we scored. If you keep doing that, those runs don’t kill you.”

Tori Wells and Cait Kelm led the way for Lakeview with three hits each. Wells had a double and a pair of RBIs while Kelm drove in two. Sam Marino chipped in with two hits and three RBIs.

Marissa Jerina of Howland bunts the ball against Lakeview in Cortland on Wednesday.

Kelm got the win in striking out nine and walking four. She allowed six hits.

“Cait did that last year, too,” Lawrence said. “She started out and just kept getting better, better and better until tournament time. She wasn’t feeling well, but she gave it her all. She did a nice job.”

The Tigers scored a pair in the first on Marissa Miller’s two-run double. Avrey Steiner walked and scored on Wells’ single to the base of the fence in right-center to cut the Lakeview deficit in half in the home half of the inning.

In the third, the Bulldogs plated three as Kelm singled in Kylee Mann and Wells scored on an error on the play. Marino scored when Alex Romano reached on an error to give Lakeview a 4-2 lead.

Miller singled and scored when Mercadez Morrow reached on an error in the top of the fourth to get the Tigers within a run, 4-3. Lakeview responded in the bottom of the inning with RBI singles by Wells and Kelm, a groundout from Marino that brought a run in and Kelm raced in from third on a wild pitch to make it 8-3.

Lakeview pushed the lead to 10-3 in the fifth when Marino brought in another run with a groundout and Kelm scored on another wild pitch.

ReAnn Litz gave Howland some life as she doubled with the bases loaded to score all three runners to get the Tigers within four at 10-6 in sixth.

“Lakeview-Howland will always be a good game,” Toth said. “It was great we got those two runs in the first right off the bat. I told the girls we can’t teach fight. We can’t coach fight. That they continued to fight until the end is something I’m proud of them for doing.”

Mann doubled in a run with two outs in the sixth before Wells brought in a run on an error by the Howland outfield and Marino added a run-scoring single to make it 13-6.

Sara Price brought the lightning in the top of the seventh with a blast over the fence in left-center. Play was halted moments later and the game was called when the rain began.