When the second big blast of the fourth inning crumpled her to the dirt, Kaylee Lekki seemed headed for an early exit. But after a brief respite to regain her wind, Lekki got back to throwing strikes, and led the visiting Niagara Wheatfield Falcons to a 2-1 win Thursday over rival Niagara Falls.

Lekki gave up six hits and struck out eight batters in nine innings of work, and had the lone hit during the Falcons ninth-inning rally that ended both teams’ regular-season finale.

“No one on this team wants to win more than she does,” Falcons coach Eric Belter said.

Lynnette Maggard scored the winning run for Niagara-Wheatfield (9-5 Niagara Frontier League), scoring from third on a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield off the bat of Christina Nolan. Maggard thwarted a potential double play to get on first, then beat a throw from the catcher to get into scoring position. Lekki’s second single of the game put Maggard on third.

“This gives us a lot of positive momentum going into sectionals and shows our pride,” said Lekki, who said she still had the imprint of laces on her skin after taking a hard line drive to the side of her rib cage in the fourth.

“She got hit (Wednesday) against Kenmore West too, in the hand,” Belter said. “She takes a beating, but she keeps getting up.”

Earlier in the fourth inning, Niagara Falls’ Holly Conte tucked a home run inside the left-field foul post to tie the game, 1-1. Conte also ended up taking the loss, despite allowing just five hits and fanning 13 over nine innings.

“She put us in position to win,” said Wolverines coach Beth Bullock. “We just didn’t cash in when we needed to.”

Niagara Falls (10-4 NFL) loaded the bases in the eighth inning and got a runner on third in the ninth. The Wolverines finished second in the NFL this season.

Kyrstin Lekki, Kaylee’s twin sister, made a diving catch of a foul ball to end the game. Offensively, she was 2-for-2 with two walks, and produced the first run with a double that bounced off the top of the outfield fence and allowed Rebecca Pringle to score.

Contact reporter Jonah Bronstein at 282-2311, ext. 2258.

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