Striking Out


The Lakeland varsity softball team fought well but eventually lost to Lake City in their doubleheader on Saturday, April 29. 

The team had a rough start in offense and defense, allowing Lake City to get ahead, creating a gap in the score from which Lakeland could not return from. The team lost both games, with a score of 17-4 for the first game and 14-5 for the second.

Lakeland started in defense but needed to play to the level they had hoped. The first few innings were rough, with errors occurring in most of their plays. Despite this, they did have some good everyday plays to get outs, one by Payton Sterling and Emma Avalos. Sterling made a throw to 3rd, allowing Avalos to get the out with a tag. This gave the team hope to continue getting these easy outs. However, their mistakes while they played defensively only showed that the team needed to work further on fundamentals and their mentality. 

The team, in the past, had done very well keeping their spirits high and thinking about the next play instead of dwelling on their mistakes, and they did this without confidence. Fear was prominent throughout the games, which showed in their performance on the field. 

“We need to work on not being afraid to fail,” DC, Dwyane Curry, said. This was not the case when up to bat.

Lakeland had great hits against Kylee Palmer, Lake City’s pitcher, allowing the team to start making a comeback. Sterling led the team with RBIs, giving Lakeland hope for the win. This was until Lake City switched out Palmer for Layla Gugino. 

After the switch, Lakeland struggled to hit when up at the plate. Gugino pitches slower than Palmer, which varsity worked to adjust to. 

“No one could touch her,” Alexis Hanna, a varsity player, said. It was frustrating for Lakeland as they entered a hitting slump, limiting their opportunities to score more runs. They attempted to learn from their mistakes in the first game as they moved into the second game, which showed a significant improvement in their defense. 

Infield had quite the improvement in their second game with some great plays. The team lost some fear and simply played the game, highlighting their capabilities. Maddie Cheney played at second and made some great plays showing her 110% effort that the team needed.

Cheney made a fantastic diving catch to stop a grounder hit between first and second, flipping it to Berkley Ogieglo at first to get the out. 

“That play fired the girls up,” DC said. Cheney did not stop there and did everything she could to keep the ball in the infield, not letting anything past her throughout the entire game. Cheney was not the only one to make a great play. Delilah Zimmerman was at short when a ball was popped up just over her head. She barely made the catch but got the out. 

Lakeland improved a lot playing defense but still struggled when up to hit. The team got good hits off of Palmer, but when Gugino was switched in for the second half of the game, she remained untouchable, thus giving them the advantage as Lakeland struggled to get girls on base. 


“I thought we had a much better attitude and played more free than we have lately,” DC said. Lakeland hopes to continue playing “freely” as they move into the last few games of the season.