LANSING, Ill. (September 28, 2023) – Perfection isn’t a regular occurrence in sports, Irma Lopez knows.
But that’s what happened for the Lansing Shoe Carnival Electric Thunder, the 10-and-under softball team she coached during the spring.
Playing against another Lansing team — the Foto Shop Black Widows — and clubs from Northwest Indiana, the Thunder went 13-0 in the regular season and won four straight playoff games to finish 17-0.
“We didn’t expect to go undefeated,” said Lopez, the Thunder’s coach. “It just ended up that way.”
It was the 10U swan song for the Thunder players, who will move up to the 12U division.
Leading the way was the battery of pitcher Natalia Savage and catcher Brooklyn Crain. Savage threw complete-game wins to wrap up the perfect season, beating the Black Widows 6-2 in the playoff semifinals and defeating the Griffith Lightning 8-4 in the championship game.
“She’s the ace of the team,” Lopez said of Savage. “She has the ability to go to a travel team.”
But Lopez and her players like to be able to play locally and still be successful.
Pitchers in the 10U division have innings limits during the regular season, but not in the playoffs. Crain and Dasia Evans also threw for the Thunder during the regular season. Savage also played catcher and shortstop, while Crain also saw time at third base.
Among the team’s top hitters were Savage, shortstop London Edwards, Evans (who also played first base) and second baseman/outfielder Emma Denava.
Also contributing for the Lightning were third baseman/catcher Ryan Wallace, outfielder/third baseman Shanelle Tyler, and outfielders Olivia Santos, Ali Neal, Niyah Cross, Nylah Mace, and Wynter Hosmer.
Looking to next season
Lopez has been coaching in Lansing Girls Softball since 2021, and most of the Thunder players have been with her for all three years. Her assistant coaches were LaNeah Robinson, Ernest Savage, and Patrick DeYoung.
After the successful spring season, Lopez decided to move on to a 12U schedule.
“We decided to test the waters for what’s to come in spring (of 2024),” she said, noting, “the ball is an inch bigger and the distance (from the mound to the plate) is 5 feet longer. My pitchers need to get used to that as well.”
Other Lansing Girls Softball success
The Thunder’s success wasn’t the only encouraging story line for Lansing Girls Softball this year. Here’s how the organization’s other teams finished during the spring season:
- 8U Molenaar Eye Care, eliminated after first game of playoffs;
- 10U Foto Shop Black Widows, finished third in playoffs;
- 12U Besse Shirt, eliminated after second game of playoffs;
- 14U Copper Muggers, finished third in playoffs;
- 18U Tacos and Burritos, won North Division title;
- 18U Cousins Property & Maintenance, finished second in North Division;
- 18U Napleton Dodge, finished third in North Division.
Lopez gives much of the credit for Lansing Girls Softball’s success as an organization to its president, Joe Dominiak.
“We are forever grateful for his tireless dedication and countless hours spent in making our league possible in Lansing,” Lopez said.
- Three games in one day – Lansing 8-year-olds win softball championship (October 25, 2022)