Leavenworth softball opens 2021 campaign with pair of convincing victories

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times

LEAVENWORTH, KS – The Leavenworth Pioneers varsity softball team started their 2021 season with a pair of convincing, mercy-rule victories on Thursday during inaugural play at the new Leavenworth sports complex.

The games, played as part of an opening day doubleheader after inclement weather forced a reschedule from the week prior, saw the Pioneers (2-0) defeat Sumner Academy, 12-2 and Washington, 11-3 in two six-inning contests.

Landri Lopez paced Leavenworth with a strong performance in the circle and at the plate in the opening win over Sumner. The junior right-hander recorded 16 strikeouts while surrendering only two hits and two unearned runs in the complete-game effort. On offense, Lopez went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a three-run home run, three runs scored, and five runs batted in.

After spotting the visitors an early 2-0 lead, the Pioneers battled back with a three-spot in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Mikayla Garrison and Ingrid Mackey started the rally with a pair of bunt singles. Kaylee McLain then evened the score with a triple to centerfield, driving in two runs. Lopez followed suit with her first hit of the day, doubling off the fence in center to make it 3-2.

Leavenworth put the game out of reach in the fifth inning when the team pushed across four scores, highlighted by Lopez's home run. After Mackey (HBP) and McClain (single) reached to start the frame, Lopez deposited a 1-1 pitch onto the berm beyond the leftfield fence for the 6-2 lead. The Pioneers pushed the lead to five runs when Jewel Lake doubled home Taylor Noberto, who reached via a single.

The Pioneers plated five runs in the sixth inning when Mackey, McLain, Lopez, Lake, and Norberto all scored. Mackey (2-for-3, 3 R), McClain (3-for-4, 3 R, 3 RBIs), Norberto (3-for-3, BB, 2 R), Lake (2-for-4, 2 RBIs), and Jada Eagle (2-for-3, BB, R) all joined Lopez in pacing Leavenworth’s offensive onslaught.

In the second game of the day, McLain and Lopez combined to strike out 13 Wildcat batters while Eagle, Lake, Garrison, and Paci Tate each drove in two runs on offense in the 11-3 run-rule victory.

McLain (1-0) tossed three innings, surrendering four hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out eight. Lopez came in to throw two innings in relief, surrendering no hits while striking out five Washington High (KC) hitters.

After staking the Wildcats a 1-0 edge, Leavenworth took the lead for good with a five-spot in the bottom of the first inning. Garrison walked and scored on McLain's double. Following Lopez's groundball single through the infield's left side, Eagle tripled to the gap in left, plating her two teammates. Lake extended the lead to 4-1 on a fly ball single to center, scoring Eagle. Garrison singled on a fly ball to right, plating Lake to close the inning.

Lake (3-for-3, BB, 3 R, 2 RBIs), Lopez (2-for-3, BB, 3 R), Garrison (1-for-2, 3 BB, R, 2 RBIs), McClain (1-for-4, R, RBI), Tate (1-for-2, 2 BB, 2 RBIs), and Eagle (2-for-2, 2 BB, 3 R, 2 RBIs) propelled the offense in the second game of the day.