STOWEâ€“The Lake Region Lady Rangers rolled up a pair of impressive wins in doubleheader action Saturday at Stowe, grabbing both ends of the twin bill, 16-0 and 20-3.
In the opener, sophomore hurler Michelle Thibeault toed the rubber and turned in her finest performance of the season, twirling an efficient 3-hitter in pocketing her first career shut-out.
The Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first behind run-scoring hits from Callie Cashin and Steph Merchant. But Stoweâ€™s Emma Stein befuddled the Ranger offense with her off-speed pitches over the next four innings, and the game stood at just 5-0 after five innings of play. By their third trip through the order, the Ranger batters figured out how to lay back on the off-speed stuff and sent 17 batters to the plate in the 6th frame alone, busting the contest open with 11 runs. Eight different Rangers had RBIâ€™s in the inning, and after Thibeault shut the door in the bottom half of the inning, the game was called on account of the 15-run mercy rule, 16-0.
Merchant and Alyssa Royer led the Ranger attack with 3 RBIs apiece, while Corrina Cota reached base all five of her trips to the dish.
â€śThe 16 runs is impressive and all, but the thing that really made me happy was our defense. It was flawless, no errors,â€ť said Ranger coach Matt Tinker. â€śMichelle threw the best she has all year. She missed a lot of bats today. It was nice to see the â€śOâ€ť come alive, but Iâ€™ll take good pitching and solid defense all day every day.â€ť
In the nightcap, the Rangers continued their roll, scoring seven runs in the first and two in the second for a 9-1 lead after just two innings. In the third inning, the Rangers splattered the score book with yet another 17-batter 11-run inning to extend the lead to 20-1. After Stowe pushed a pair of runs across in the 4th, the game was again halted early due to the mercy rule, 20-3.
Hannah Leroux got the nod on the bump for the Rangers and was masterful, allowing just a pair of soft singles to the Stowe line-up.
â€śShe (Leroux) hasnâ€™t gotten a lot of work pitching so far this season, so for her to come in and throw like that.. my hatâ€™s off to her,â€ť praised her coach.
Leroux was also the offensive star of the game, going 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs. Cota, Alyssa Royer, and Sarah Burnham all chipped in with two hits each, Cashin knocked in three and scored four times, and the pesky Sabrina Roberge drew four walks.
The twin killing raises the Rangers record to 4-6. â€śI hope this jump starts our offense, and weâ€™ll need to pitch and play defense like this in our next three games,â€ť said Tinker.
The Rangers face a strong test as trio of teams who are among the best the state has to offer fill their schedule the next three games. Undefeated and first-place Fairfax comes to town on Tuesday, defending D III state champion Peoples strolls in on Saturday, and then the Rangers host perennial power Lyndon (8-2) the following Tuesday.