LYONS — Let’s be honest. The Skyline softball team hasn’t had much to smile about the past few seasons.
Leah Osborn gave the surging Falcons numerous reasons Saturday with a performance for the ages.
The junior shortstop belted two grand slams — one inside the park, one out — and drove in a spellbinding 10 runs in Skyline’s 13-8 win at Lyons. After winning only one game each of the past three seasons, the Falcons improved to 4-1.
“It was probably, definitely one of my best games on offense for sure,” Osborn said. “I really focused on it during warmups, hitting the inside and the outside pitches, and today it just all came together.”
The vibe has undergone a diametric turnaround for these Falcons after a few seasons of futility. They have moved down to 3A this season, and have reeled off four straight wins after dropping the opener to Eaton.
“We’ve won more in our first 10 days of the season than we did in my first two years here at Skyline,” Falcons coach Scarlett Gemm said. “Part of it is we’re playing more appropriate competition for where our players are at.”
The Falcons have no seniors and lost only one player from last year’s roster. The cohesion is starting to display itself, and of course it never hurts when your shortstop reaches double digits in RBIs.
Osborn, who went 4 for 5, started things with an RBI double in the first. With Skyline trailing 4-3 in the fourth, she ripped a ball down the third-base line that ricocheted a few times in the left-field corner. She circled the bases ahead of the throw for the inside-the-park grand slam.
In the fifth, she clobbered the first pitch over the left-field wall for another slam. Then in the seventh, she rocketed a ball that Lyons third baseman Shelby Andrew barely saw for another RBI single.
“Leah has been a solid player in this program,” Gemm said. “We’re playing down in 3A this year, but she has just brought it with her leadership. Amazing, amazing game today for sure.”
Hailey Johnson helped out atop the order by going 2 for 3 with three runs scored, and pitcher Neena Shields earned the win with five solid innings.
“Everyone just has a lot more of a positive attitude,” said Osborn, who batted No. 2 in the lineup. “We know that if we get down, like we did in this game, that we can come back and trust each other to have our backs.”
Despite the loss, positive feelings also were abundant on the Lyons side. The Lions (1-2) are developing quickly under the leadership of new coach Amy Renaldi and appear close to putting things together.
Standout sophomore shortstop Liz Jonak went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and catcher Shaeli Herman went 2 for 4 with three knocked in.
“I think we’re getting better every single day,” Renaldi said. “It’s easy to get negative, but we’re kind of taking a different approach. They are totally prepared to have a good season.”
Renaldi saw a much improved Skyline squad than the one she opposed while coaching Mead last season and is aiming for a similar transition with the Lions.
“It’s been a struggle in the past, so our mindset has to shift a little bit,” she said. “We’re making the shift slowly, and I’ve never seen a team with more heart than Lyons. They never give up.”
Lyons played a second tilt Saturday, suffering a 13-3 loss against Sterling in a game postponed Thursday due to rain.
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Skyline 13, Lyons 8
At Lyons HS
Skyline 200 550 1 — 13 8 3
Lyons 202 102 1 — 8 9 1
W — Shields. L — Liquori.
Skyline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Johnson 3-3-2-1, Osborn 5-3-4-10, Shields 2-0-1-0, Mein 0-0-0-0, Painter 4-0-0-0, David 2-1-0-0, Jones 2-1-1-0, Bahnson 1-0-0-0, Arvizu 3-1-0-0, A. Powell 3-2-0-0, T. Powell 2-1-0-0, Millette 0-1-0-0. Totals 27-13–8-11. 2B — Osborn. HR — Osborn 2 (grand slam in 4th; grand slam in 5th). SB — Johnson, Mein.
Lyons hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Bunton 3-2-1-0, Khleif 4-1-1-0, Jonjak 3-2-2-3, Herman 4-1-2-2, Simms 3-1-1-1, Busby 4-0-1-0, Andrew 4-0-1-0, A. Liquori 2-1-0-0, Kurland 1-0-0-0, Johnson 2-0-0-0. Totals 30-8-9-6. 2B — Jonjak, Herman, Simms. 3B — Khleif. SB — Bunton 2, Simms, Andrew, Liquori.
Skyline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Shields 5-8-5-4-1-5, Jones 2-1-3-3-4-3.
Lyons pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — A. Liquori 3.2-5-7-7-1-6, Gilson 1-1-5-5-5-0, A. Liquori 2.1-2-1-0-1-1 (A. Liquori total: 6-7-8-7-2-7).
Sterling 13, Lyons 3
At Lyons HS
Sterling 312 106 0 — 13 15 1
Lyons 111 000 0 — 3 5 2
L — Gilson.
Lyons hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Johnson 3-0-1-0, Jonjak 3-0-0-0, Khleif 3-0-1-1, A. Liquori 1-0-1-0, Gilson 1-0-0-0, Bunton 2-2-1-0, Andrew 1-0-0-0, Simms 3-1-0-0, Busby 2-0-0-0, Herman 3-0-1-0. Totals 22-3-5-1.
Lyons pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gilson 2-6-6-3-2-0; A. Liquori 4-9-7-5-2-0.