RENO — Time seemed to be running out on Lincoln County’s softball season Friday.
The Lynx trailed Yerington by a run and had just failed to get down a bunt with the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth inning in an elimination game of the Division III state softball tournament.
But Chelsea Lloyd saved the day and the season.
Lloyd belted a two-run home run over the left-field fence to lift the Lynx to a 4-2 win over Yerington at UNR’s Hixson Park. Lincoln County (28-7) advanced to the championship game against White Pine (20-6) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bishop Manogue.
“I was looking for a pitch that was in my wheelhouse,” Lloyd said. “Right when I hit it, I knew it was out. I knew how solid it was. It was a feeling of relief, and I just felt the excitement going through my body.”
Lincoln County had just two hits in the first five innings against Yerington pitcher Angela Sciarani.
The Lions broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth on Brooke Menesini’s RBI triple. Menesini later scored on a foul sacrifice fly to left.
Down to their final six outs of the season, the Lynx responded.
“They’ve been explosive all year long, and it was just a matter of time until they found it,” Lincoln County coach Pat Kelley said. “When (Yerington) scored, that must have woken us up. We just started hitting that ball.”
Easton Tingey doubled, and Chesnee Harding followed with a single to left. A bobble by the left fielder allowed Tingey to score and Harding to move to second.
But the Lynx gave away an out on a popped up bunt before Lloyd drilled a 1-0 pitch over the wall.
Josie Burgess added a two-out RBI single to push the lead to 4-2.
Aspen Wilkin took care of the rest, retiring the Lions in order in the seventh to complete a three-hitter. She struck out three.
“Aspen did a beautiful job, just beautiful,” Kelley said. “She kept the ball moving around and didn’t let them settle in there.”
Lincoln County is bidding for its first state title since 1999 and must beat White Pine twice Saturday to take the crown.