No better way to win a tournament championship than with a walk off grand slam home run. That is exactly was Chelsea Lloyd did in the title game at Needles last Saturday to power Lincoln County in the Division III Southern League girls softball.
Lynx coach Pat Kelley said the blow came in the sixth inning, and gave Lincoln an 11-1 win by the 10-run rule over Needles, the defending Division III state champion. He said, “Chelsea was crying by the time she rounded third base.”
It was the fourth second consecutive year Lincoln has beaten Needles in the regional tournament finals. They beat Needles last year, too, but lost to the Mustangs in the state tournament.
Lincoln opened the tournament with a dominating 13-3 win over Mountain View. Kaylee Teel and Aspen Wilkin had home runs, Chesnee Harding had a triple and a double, Tanji Tibbitts had a triple, and Easton Tingey had a double. Lloyd got the win.
“We hit the ball early, but not really that well that game,” said Kelley. “We scored six runs in the first inning and after that it was a few runs here, a few runs there. We never really did get back in the groove again.” Although Wilkin did hit a home run.”
On Friday, the Lynx girls found that groove again and showed it in the next two games, both with Needles. “It was a good game, close until the end, and we blew it open in the fifth and sixth,” said Kelley, of the Friday game in the winner’s bracket.
Kaylee Teel got a double and Chelsea Lloyd followed with an RBI double of her own for a 1-0 Lincoln lead. In the third inning, Kaylee Teel hit a grand slam home run to give the Lynx a 5-0 lead, and Needles could only muster one run the remainder of the game. Lloyd registered 10 strikeouts in pitching the win.
The win put Lincoln into the Saturday championship game.
Needles went on to beat Mountain View 11-6 to earn a spot in the championship against Lincoln.
Aspen Wilkin, after being sick most of the week, pitched the final game against Needles.
Lloyd hit a two run home run in the fourth inning to give Lincoln a 2-1 lead, and build on that with a four-run fifth inning.
Leading 7-1 in the sixth inning, after Lincoln had managed to load the bases, is when Lloyd had her game ending grand slam and an 11-1 win.
Lincoln and Needles both advanced to the state tournament in Reno that began on Thursday. Lincoln (26-6) was to face Northern No. 2 seed Yerington (23-9), and Needles (17-10) played No. 1 seed White Pine (18-6). Needles beat White Pine 3-2 for the state championship last year.
Going into state Kelly said, “If we stay focused the way we were down there, we played the last two games and never made an error. Our pitching was just awesome. The girls have been working really hard, putting in the time and the effort.”