Lakota East puts an end to Mason’s undefeated record; Comets will play to share GMC title

Eric Miller | Online Sports Editor

The Mason softball team dropped their first game of the year in a 6-0 decision to the Lakota East Thunderhawks in a battle of two of the top five teams in the state.

The Comets came into the game with a 19-0 record that includes a 4-0 win against East on April 13. The Comets bats were silenced by Thunderhawk ace Kianah Towe, who fired a one-hitter to match the one-hitter the Comets Elle Buffenbarger threw in the two team’s first meeting of the year. Freshmen Ali Weekly produced the Comets only hit with a single in the top of the third. Head coach Liann Muff said that while Towe is an exceptional pitcher, her team struggled to execute.

“(Towe) is a very good pitcher, but we can hit her, we have in the past,” Muff said. “For whatever reason we just did not come ready to play, we did not execute today. So then that’s the result.”

East got started offensively early and often. Melissa Jacobsen and Hannah Messer led off the bottom of the first with back to back doubles to score a run. Messer proved to be a thorn in the Comets side; going 2-2 with two RBI, 2 walks and a run scored. The Thunderhawks loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first, but Comets starting pitcher Elle Buffenbarger worked out of the jam with a fielder’s choice at the plate, a strikeout and a pop out back to the pitcher. Zoe Bishop was the first Comet to reach base, after an error on an infield fly. Bishop moved to second on an Olivia Hopkins sacrifice bunt, but was stranded at second. Weekly and Elana Harrison, who reached on a walk, were the only other Comets to reach base against Towe.

The Thunderhawks opened the game up in the bottom half of the fourth. Messer scored Brianna Castner with an RBI single and Tara Manning brought home two more runs with a bases clearing triple to make the score 4-0. The Comets could do little to mount a rally against Towe who retired the final 12 batters she faced.

East added to their lead in the sixth with a Manning RBI single and a bases loaded walk from Corrinne Haverland. Towe worked a clean top of the seventh with two strikeouts to end the game. The win gives the Thunderhawks a share of the Greater Miami Conference championship. The Comets can claim the other half with a win on May 6 against Oak Hills. Muff said her team will try to build, and learn from the loss.

“This team has been tested, they’ve been down twice and been able to come back but that’s not a lot of experience in that area,” Muff said. “We’ll use this game for sure as motivation. We know we’ve got to win our categories of success and we did not do that today, we did not execute on either end defensively or offensively.”

The Comets (19-1) are the number one seed in the Liberty Township District 1 for the OHSAA softball district tournament and will open postseason play on May 11 at home against either Walnut Hills or Winton Woods.

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Photos by Blake Nissen.