LaBrae takes care of Wickliffe, 8-1

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems LaBrae’s Kaitlin Gibson, far right, is greeted by her teammates Tuesday after a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Vikings defeated Wickliffe, 8-1.

LEAVITTSBURG — Though playing at home, LaBrae was the visiting team Tuesday in their Division III district semifinal game against third-seeded Wickliffe.

As a result, the third-seeded Vikings batted first and they came out swinging, beating the Blue Devils, 8-1. For their troubles, the Vikings (12-10) face All-

American Conference Blue Tier opponent Champion, the undefeated, top-seeded defending state champion. That district title game is today at 5 p.m. on the Vikings’ home field.

Marissa Roberts got the Vikings going Tuesday with a single. Aryana Hartman kept it going with a single as well. After two outs were recorded, Ashley White smacked a 1-1 fastball over the left-center field fence for a three-run home run to give LaBrae a 3-0 lead.

“I just felt like I did my job and did what I was supposed to do. It felt pretty great,” White said about her home run.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Arianna Geordan pitches Tuesday for LaBrae.

On the mound, LaBrae’s Arianna Goerdan had herself ready to go. She struck two out of the three batters she faced in the first inning.

“That took a lot of pressure off me. You still have to come play in the end,” Geordan said.

Kaitlin Gibson reached on an error to begin the second inning and eventually scored on an RBI groundout by Roberts to increase the Vikings’ lead to 4-0.

Goerdan added two more strikeouts in the second inning and finished with eight in the game.

Wickliffe broke the shutout in the third inning as Gia Welms turned an eight-pitch at-bat into a solo home run to cut the deficit to 4-1.

“I told them before we even started in the playoffs that we are a better team than we are seeded. All we needed to do was come out and showcase that as well as believe who we are,” LaBrae coach Demetra Noble said. “I knew what we are capable of. I told them that we are a two seed in my opinion. Hopefully tomorrow, we can play like the one seed.”

Geordan scattered four Wickliffe hits over the last four innings and LaBrae continued to play well throughout the remainder of the game.

In the top of the fourth inning, Kaitlin Gibson smacked a first-pitch home run over the centerfield fence to make the lead 5-1.

Pitching continued to be the Vikings’ strength.

“We’ve played games where we had errors and it’s a complete game-changer,” White said. “It’s a big motivator being the underdog and it’s surprising us because of how well we have been working together.”

LaBrae scored three insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning to secure the win.

“This team has never been in this format and these situations,” Noble said. “You have to decide to play all seven innings. It is totally mental. You have to be prepared at all times because you never know what could happen.”

With the win, Noble collected her 100th career victory.