By Richard Greene
With one swing of her bat, Lucinda Krahl changed the race for the District 9-A softball title Saturday.
Krahl belted a pitch far over the 200-foot sign in left field in the second inning for a three-run homer that put the Lindsay Lady Knights in front of the Chico Lady Dragons for good on their way to an 11-3 victory.
“My heart was pounding so fast,” said the Lindsay catcher. “I was about due for a home run. I haven’t had one this year. I was hoping to get one last one. It was great it was this game, my senior year, and when my team really needed it.”
The Lindsay win created a deadlock atop the district between the two teams, who have split the season series. If both continue their dominance over the rest of the league, they will meet for a third time before April 24 to determine the top playoff seed.
“We beat them at home and they beat us here,” said Chico coach Michael Qualls. “We’ll fight it out again on neutral ground.”
Krahl’s home run was one of 10 hits for the Lady Knights against Chico pitcher Malori Moss.
“They are a good hitting team,” Moss said. “I left a few pitches up and they took advantage of them.”
Moss struck out nine and walked three. All three of the walks came in to score.
Lindsay’s Taylor Atkins went 2-for-3 with a pair of two-run doubles. Her two-run, two-out double to left field in the fifth put Lindsay up 6-3.
After seeing Chico rally for three runs in the seventh to win the first meeting March 16, Lindsay made sure the Lady Dragons wouldn’t have the opportunity again, breaking the game open in the bottom of the sixth. The Lady Knights plated five runs with Atkins bringing in two runs with another double to left field.
With an eight-run lead, Atkins went back to the pitcher’s circle and worked a quick three-up and three-down seventh to finish off the win.
Atkins limited Chico to three runs — one earned — on five hits. She struck out 12 with no walks.
“Taylor didn’t feel well before the game, but she came out and pitched her best game of the year,” said Lindsay coach Robin Hess.
Chico didn’t help Atkins feel any better early, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning. After Charlye Biggerstaff reached on a dropped third strike with two outs, Moss drove her home with a double to right field. Moss scored on Jorden Vidal’s single.
Moss finished 3-for-3 with a double, triple, a RBI and two runs scored.
Chico’s 2-0 lead lasted until the bottom of the second. A walk and error put two Lady Knights aboard and into scoring position. Kassidy Gum cut Chico’s lead in half with a sacrifice fly.
Tara Atkins then beat out a ground ball to third to put two runners on before Krahl came to the plate to turn the game around and set up the possible third meeting.