Huron Valley Lakeland was able to hold off the new kid on the block to claim a share of the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division title last week.
The Eagles (29-7) swept a doubleheader against Waterford Kettering on Wednesday, May 18 to finish division play with an 8-2 record and tie with Walled Lake Northern for the KLAA North Division crown.
However, the Knights will play for the Lakes Conference championship by virtue of sweeping a doubleheader against the Eagles on May 4, marking the Eagles’ only division losses this season.
Last year, Northern and Lakeland also tied for the division title, but the Eagles had the tie-breaker and went on to win the Lakes Conference and KLAA championships.
Last Wednesday, Lakeland took the first game from Kettering, 4-1, thanks in part to a 212-foot, two-run home run to right field by Kelsey Johnson.
Stephanie Shatzer added a double and Kelsey Cleary added a pair of hits and scored a run.
Selena Hicks continued her strong pitching in the circle as she gave up one run and struck out nine batters in a complete game victory.
Lakeland then took it to the Captains in the nightcap, defeating them 13-2 behind a powerful offense that churned out 18 hits.
Kelly Merkle and Cleary led the way with three hits apiece, while Merkle also drove in two runs.
Hicks picked up her second victory of the afternoon by allowing only three hits and fanning seven batters.
It was a disappointing finish for Kettering (10-11, 7-3). The Captains had surprised many by grabbing a hold of first-place in the KLAA North two weeks ago with a doubleheader sweep of Walled Lake Northern.
Lakeland then hosted the Lakeland Invitational on Saturday, May 21 and began the day with a 6-0 shutout of Plymouth.
Sierra Burke collected two hits and had a pair of RBIs, while Devan Olah, Shatzer, Morgan Craft and Jessica McNabb each had a hit.
Hicks pitched a one-hitter for the Eagles, striking out four batters.
Lakeland then followed up with an 11-7 victory over Fenton.
Craft had three hits and three RBIs, while Cleary also had three hits and scored three runs.
Merkle also scored two runs and hit two RBIs.
However, Lakeland was humbled by Canton, 8-0, in the Eagles final game of the day.
Lakeland stranded seven runners in scoring position while Hicks gave up eight runs on 11 hits, with all but one of those runs earned.
Lakeland was scheduled to play at Grand Blanc in a KLAA crossover game on Monday, May 23 after press time, while Kettering was scheduled to travel to Howell.
Both teams will also play in conference crossover games today, Wednesday, May 25, and the state tournament will begin with district play on Tuesday, May 31.
Lakeland will play in the Hartland district while Kettering will play in the Clarkston district.