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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Adams Central’s Sarah Fiechter slides safely back to second base under Leo’s Brooke Imel during the first inning Tuesday. The Lions rallied to defeat the Flying Jets.

Lions roar back to top Flying Jets

LEO-CEDARVILLE – Leo’s softball team answered a deficit in style for the second straight day.

The Lions rallied behind seven runs in the fourth inning in an 8-2 ACAC win over Adams Central on Tuesday.

Leo (13-4, 5-1 ACAC) fell behind 2-0 in the second inning against the Flying Jets (10-6, 2-4), the 2012 Class 2A state runner-up.

“We just needed to get some hits and get some base runners on, which we ended up doing really well,” Leo senior first baseman Haley Bowers said. “We are definitely a rally-type team. We can really get some momentum and good things can happen.”

Leo overcame a 7-5 deficit after two innings against Churubusco on Monday to score a 19-9 victory.

“Today, we got our heads down a little bit,” Leo coach Ben Shappell said of Tuesday’s win. “A couple of girls got hits, and they started cheering each other on again. When we cheer for each other and encourage each other, we are a much better team. The Busco game was the first time I have seen our team start to pick each other up, and it was nice to see it again.”

The Lions flew past the Jets with a 7-run fourth inning. Leo loaded the bases and got its first run on a squeeze bunt by Madeline MacDonald that scored courtesy runner Hannah Voirol.

“The suicide squeeze with the bases loaded really took us by surprise,” Adams Central coach Cary Blake said. “In hindsight, you throw the person out and give them a run. They made a good call, and they had some timely hits. That’s the game of softball, and you can’t afford to give up big innings.”

Brooke Imel knocked in two runs with a double in the fourth, and Hannah Risser and Haley Bowers had RBI singles. The Lions tacked on the final run in the sixth after Morgan Poeppel reached on a double, stole third and scored on a sacrifice by Imel, who finished with three RBI.

The back-to-back rallies are a good measuring stick for Shappell on a team with two seniors, no juniors and 11 sophomores and freshmen.

“We told them we wanted to get better throughout the year and surprise some people in the sectionals,” Shappell said. “If we get better, we have confidence now we can beat anybody.”

Leo pitcher Jessica Claxton, the other senior with Bowers, settled down after giving up the two runs in the second and blanked the Jets the rest of the way.

“A lot of the sophomores and freshmen are experiencing all new things,” Bowers said. “It is helping Jessica and I grow too, because we are having to step up into leadership positions and try to help out our teammates, especially because we don’t have any juniors, and get the sophomores ready to be leaders next year. It is definitely different only having two seniors where last year we had seven seniors. It is a learning experience.”

gjones@jg.net

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