LOWELL | With the winning run just 60 feet away, Lowell senior Courtney Walter was looking for her pitch from Lake Central’s Annabel Karberg in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs.
She got it and drove a liner over the center fielder’s outstretched glove to give the host Red Devils a 2-1 victory over the Times softball preseason No. 1 Indians (2-1) on a chilly Monday.
“Alyssa (Pokropinski) helped me out by getting to third base the way she did,” Walter said.
Walter drove in Pokropinski, who doubled with two out and advanced to third on a close play after a passed ball.
“I just wanted to get her in,” Walter said. “She was working hard, so I thought I should work hard.
“Our pitchers pitched a great game, and I just wanted to work hard like all my team did.”
Veteran Lowell coach Pete Iussig said the late rally surprised him against a super team. The Red Devils (2-0) couldn’t have scripted it any better.
“They did a nice job today,” he said. “If your pitchers pitch like that, they’ll keep you in a game. Just like Lake Central’s pitchers kept them in the game.”
After L.C.’s Aspyn Novak walked and eventually scored in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead, Lowell tied the game in the bottom of the third.
The Devils loaded the bases on a walk, a bunt single and an error. Walter plated Hunter Jusevitch on a ground out to set up the late-game heroics.
“Pete’s team did a wonderful job of coming through in clutch situations,” said L.C. coach Jeff Sherman, who was pleased with the efforts of starting pitcher Lilly Del Toro and Karberg. “We had some of those situations today and we did not come through.”
Brooke Cummins, who relieved Brandi Faverty, got the win for Lowell.
“I was proud of the girls,” Iussig said. “Lake Central is a great team, and it was a great game. Win or lose it was a great game, other than 39 degrees.”