Johnna Schroeder had a big day at the plate for the Lodi High softball team.
Kayly Pau and Simone Medeiros also had huge hits for their Tokay squad.
But in the end, Schroeder and the Flames produced more hits than Pau and Medeiros’ Tigers. That led to Lodi posting a 12-7 win over Tokay in their final Tri-City Athletic League game of the season at the Lodi Softball Complex on Thursday.
Before the start of Thursday’s contest, Lodi (9-5 in the TCAL, 12-5) had already secured one of the league’s four playoff berths. Entering today’s league finale against Tracy, also at the Lodi Softball Complex, Lodi is in third place behind second place West and Tracy. Lodi and Tracy were scheduled to play on Tuesday, but the game was rescheduled when umpires did not show up. Tokay (4-11 in the TCAL, 8-15) ended its season with the loss.
In the bottom of the first inning, Schroeder gave Lodi a 2-0 lead when she tripled deep to the left field fence. That drove in teammates in leadoff hitter Andrea Lira (infield single) and Shelby Katzakian (hit by pitch) for a 2-0 score.
“I was seeing high, inside pitches,” Schroeder said. “It’s what I like to hit. I’ve been working on that. I’ve been struggling a little bit, but it was nice to finally have a good hitting day.”
Added Lodi coach Michelle Souza, “Like I said before, we’re a hitting team. That’s what we practice a lot. That’s what the team is good at. The effort was for our seniors today.”
Thursday’s game was also senior day for the Flames’ five on the team; Madison Faul, Fabian, Harlie Litton, Haley Price and winning pitcher Danielle Pfennig.
“They wanted to go out with a bang,” Souza said.
Schroeder, who is the daughter of Cosumnes River College softball coach Kristy Schroeder, touched home plate for a 3-0 score on Fabian’s single to right field. The Flames finished with four hits in the inning.
Tokay scored three times in the top of the third inning, off three hits. That included Pau (2-for-3 with two RBIs) smacking the softball to center field for a two-run home run; Emily Walker (single) was on first base at the time of Pau’s hit for a 3-3 tie.
“A few kids came today and banged the ball,” said Tokay coach Aaron Misasi. “(Some) had multiple hits. Some others struggled a bit; kind of hot and cold. The game was about consistency.”
Before Pau’s homer, Medeiros singled and scored on Walker’s base hit.
Then the Flames’ bats heated up in the bottom of the third inning for a 7-3 lead. That included four hits from Katzakian, Schroeder (3-for-4 with five RBIs), Fabian (3-for-5 with also five RBIs) and Price (2-for-3 with an RBI). Lodi also benefited from two Tokay throwing and fielding errors.
“When you make multiple errors, it really hurts you,” Misasi said.
Lodi upped its lead to an 8-3 score in the bottom of the fourth inning. Katzakian, who walked twice and was hit by a pitch in the game, scored on Fabian’s single.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, it looked like Lodi put the game away for good with four more runs for a 12-3 score. The Flames only had two hits, but one of them was Schroeder’s double that flew into left field and rolled toward the fence. Schroeder’s hit drove in Lira (single), Ashlee Toy (reached first on an error) and Katzakian (second walk).
“We really wanted to win,” Schroeder said.
But Tokay kept battling in the top of the sixth inning, which led to trimming the Flames’ lead by the final score. Out of the three hits, Medeiros’ grand slam rocketed to right field. That drove her and Tiger teammates Pau (hit by pitch), Katherine Jackson and Annika Hauschildt — each had a single — to touch home plate. Medeiros went 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
“Tokay showed up to hit, too,” Souza said. “A great hitter (Medeiros) that gets up like that, it’s deserving for her.”
After Lodi went down in the bottom of the sixth, it looked like Tokay was ready for an encore in the top of the seventh. Mia Misasi tripled to left field. But the next two Tiger batters struck out and the next one grounded out that ended the game.
“I’m just glad we held them down after that,” Souza said.
Aaron Misasi, who has six underclassmen on his team, noted, “We’re young and we’re still learning. They outhit us, but we made more errors. It kind of helped them in the run department.”
Lodi finished the game with 13 hits. Toy and Katzakian each had a hit and Price went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Tokay had 10 hits. Hannah Hauschildt and Mia Misasi, along with Emily Walker, Jackson and Annika Hauschildt, each had a hit.
In the circle, Pfennig went 5 2/3 innings. She struck out four Tokay batters and allowed nine hits. Toy, who started the game at first base, tossed the rest of the game and allowed only one hit.
The Walker sisters, twins Emily and Megan, split time in the circle for the Tigers, gave up a combined 13 hits.
After today’s TCAL finale, Lodi will turn its attention into preparing for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. The Flames have made the post-season three of the last four seasons.
“Lodi is doing great things right now,” Souza said.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.