By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The only thing that could slow the Fairfield softball team down Tuesday night was the weather.
A 35-minute lightning delay only served to delay the inevitable as the Falcons breezed over Tippecanoe Valley. 16-3 in the semifinals of the Class 3A Lakeland Sectional. The game was halted after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
With the victory, the Falcons (19-8) advance to Thursday night’s championship contest against the winner of Tuesday night’s second semifinal contest between West Noble and Lakeland. That game did not end in time for this edition.
Fairfield coach John Skibbe expected his team to come out aggressively and take care of business against Tippy Valley – and that is exactly what the Falcons did.
“We’re right where want to be,” Skibbe said – playing for a sectional championship.
After hurling a complete-game shutout Monday night against Wawasee, Fairfield sophomore ace Danica Mast’s services were required only briefly in this one. Mast pitched two innings before giving way to freshman Laira Miller.
Tuesday night, the Falcons did most of their damage in the first two frames. They put up two runs in the first and then blew the game open with 13 runs in the second. Key blows in the big inning included a 3-run homer by freshman D.J. Martz and a two-run single by Kaela Miller.
Martz’s blast ended up being the back-breaker: It came with the Falcons up just 6-0.
It was Martz’s second at-bat, and after using the first plate appearance to time a slower-than-usual Tippy Valley pitcher, Martz was ready her second time up.
“I was really just looking to make contact,” Martz said. “But it ended up being a pretty big hit for us.”
Now, Martz and her teammates have a day off from practice before taking on either the Chargers or Lakers Thursday night.
A practice session on Wednesday should help the Falcons keep their focus for Thursday night’s sectional title tilt, Martz added.
“We have to stay together and keep doing the things that got us here.” Martz said.
First pitch Thursday night at Lakeland is set for 7 p.m.