SARASOTA -- Coming off back-to-back trips to the state final four, the Lakewood Ranch softball team puts its focus on the postseason.
So Mustangs head coach Tony Cummins was not overly concerned about Tuesday night's early-season showdown with district rival Sarasota in a battle of unbeatens.
The Sailors (5-0) scored three runs in the third inning and made them hold up behind senior Clarissa Lynch for a 3-0 Class 7A-District 10 victory.
The right-hander struck out seven and allowed four hits. The Mustangs (5-1) couldn't string any hits together and hit multiple shots that were right at somebody.
"We play for the end of the year and not the beginning or the middle," Cummins said. "This game is a steppingstone and shows us where we have to work. We lost seven seniors from last year, including five position starters. We have a good group of young kids and have only four seniors."
Amanda Rak went the distance for Lakewood Ranch. In six innings, she allowed six hits, struck out 10 and walked one. Her big mistake was giving up a three-run triple to Sarahbeth Wengerd.
"Amanda did an amazing job. The pitch that got hit was solely my responsibility," Cummins said. "We had a bases-loaded situation, and I was not going to walk the first run of the game in. She pitched the pitch that I asked her to pitch, and it got hit."
Kahlie Bickerstaff led the Mustangs with two hits, and her double was their only extra-base hit. Logan Newton had a single. Jackie Schoff had a single and hit the ball hard two other times with line drives that were right at a Sarasota fielder.
"They were better than us tonight. We didn't execute in some key situations and we had a lot of right-at-'ems," Cummins said. "We just failed to execute our game plan, which is to put runners on base, advance runners and score and play high percentage ball.
"Amanda's pitch count was higher than what I would've liked, but that is largely to me. It was only the second complete game for us this season. We have four pitchers we are going to be using."