TAMPA — Though things looked hopeful for Chamberlain briefly in the first inning, Lake Region — the same opponent that eliminated the Chiefs in the 2016 and 2017 playoffs — broke Chamberlain’s playoff heart again Tuesday with an 8-2 Class 7A region semifinal victory.
Chamberlain (18-5) took a 1-0 lead in the first when Asia Thomas drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on an Haylie Corcho’s RBI single. But Lake Region (19-9), ranked 10th in the state by MaxPreps, answered with an offensive showcase that included a five-run second inning and back-to-back home runs in the third. The Thunder advance to the region final against the Melbroune-Viera winner to be played Wednesday.
"It was a good season for us, but tonight they got the hits with runners on base and we didn't," Chamberlain coach Bobby Diez said. "We havent had a lot of luck with them but it's not luck. They're a good team."
The Chiefs stranded 10 runners on base, including two runners in the first inning and three runners in the third. Lani Trent’s fifth home run of the season accounted for Chamberlain’s second run. Corcho finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The Thunder’s five-run second inning started featured 10 batters, beginning with a double by pitcher Savannah Barnett. Lake Region batters opened the inning with five hits including RBI singles by Maeghan Branche and Taylor Roland and then, with the bases loaded, Emma Hart was hit by a pitch to score Roland from third.
Branche and Roland sealed the victory in the third with back-to-back home runs, both booming shots over the centerfield wall.
“That was a huge getting those hits and scoring in the second,” Branche said. “I think we got their hopes once we got those runs. We wanted to hit the gas and keep going with no brakes.”