LENOX – Lenox softball got on the board early with five runs in the first inning and didn’t look back in a 12-2 win over Fremont-Mills to advance in Class 1A Region 3 play.
The Tigers will get to host Grand View Christian (19-9) Friday with the winner advancing to the regional final and getting a shot at the state tournament.
Lenox battled the Thunder June 27 and won 7-5, but the Tigers didn’t face GVC’s ace in Emma Heffron, who has thrown 90 percent of the Thunder’s innings this season.
Wednesday, five runs in the opening frame was all Lenox needed, but the Tigers tacked on more insurance throughout the contest.
TJ Stoaks led off the bottom of the first with a walk before back-to-back singles from McKinna Hogan and Morgan Parrish loaded the bases with no outs for Lenox.
Lauren Christensen knocked in two runners and was given an RBI after a Fremont-Mills error allowed the second runner to scamper around the bases.
Brooklynn Ecklin followed with an RBI single and Sam Trost reached base on an error and was given an RBI.
Christensen and Ecklin ended the night 3-for-7 with seven RBIs between the two of them.
Lenox tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning as Stoaks grooved her way through her first time facing the Knights’ lineup.
“That’s kind of what we’ve talked about this year,” said Lenox head coach Mandy Stoaks. “Get out and score right from the start. Not hit coast and keep going.”
After the first 10 F-M batters, Stoaks had recorded six strikeouts and surrendered two harmless walks.
Lenox stretched the lead to 8-0 in the fourth inning after a loud leadoff double from McKinna Hogan before the Tigers allowed the first Knight run.
In the top of the fifth, two base hits and an error loaded the bases for Fremont-Mills. Lenox was able to pick up an out on a runner coming home, but back-to-back walks pushed a run across.
Chloe Johnson doubled in the only other run for Fremont-Mills in the sixth inning as F-M once again loaded the bases, but Stoaks worked her way out of the jam with two consecutive strikeouts.
The middle inning turbulence was caused by a couple of errors, which Mandy Stoaks chalked up to the Tigers having been without action since last Friday.
“Everyone was a little rusty. Pitching wasn’t as sharp as we need it to be, fielding had a couple errors,” said Mandy Stoaks.
With Lenox’s sights now set on Friday night, the Tigers will be anticipating a hard-hitting Thunder squad with a team batting average of .348 coming into the contest.
“TJ has to pitch to not their spot. They’re a really good hitting team so we will have to be on our toes there,” said Stoaks.
Lenox 12, Fremont-Mills 2 (6)
R H E
F-M 000 011 — 2 4 3
Len 520 203 — 12 11 3
F-M: Kendall Reed 4K 2BB, Malea Moore (3) 1K 0BB and Addi Meese. Len: TJ Stoaks 13K 5BB and Lauren Christensen. W — Stoaks (25-5). L – Reed (10-6). 2B — Len: McKinna Hogan 1. RBI — F-M: Chloe Johnson 1. Len: Christensen 4, Brooklynn Ecklin 3, Sam Trost 1, Kayla Yzaguirre 1. Multiple hits — Hogan 4, Morgan Parrish 2, Ecklin 2.