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Colfax girls blast Bloomer in regional opener

COLFAX — Another slow start by the Colfax softball team had everyone a little anxious when they hosted the Bloomer Blackhawks in the first round of the regional tournament May 16. After falling behind a couple of times, the number three seeded Vikings came up with eight runs in the sixth inning to put the game away for an 11-4 win over the sixth seeded Blackhawks. Colfax will travel to Boyceville Tuesday, May 21 for the second round game.

After making two quick outs in the top of the first, Bloomer came up with a run on a single and two Colfax errors for an early lead. The Vikings left a runner on base in their half of the inning and the defense came up with a big play in the second after Viking’s pitcher Alexis Rudi walked the first Blackhawk batter. A bunt attempt was caught just over catcher Courtney Ottingers head and she snagged it and threw to first to double off the Bloomer runner. Rudi then whiffed the next batter for the third out.

Colfax just couldn’t sustain any offense as they left another runner on base in the second but Rudi took care of things in the third after an opening bunt single, she fielded the next bunt attempt for an out. A ground ball to shortstop Mallie Doucette resulted in the runner being called out for interference and Rudi struck out the final batter.

Bloomer scratched another run across in the fourth after an opening walk, a bunt, a ground out and a wild pitch. Another walk was followed by a shot off Rudi’s leg but with two Hawks on the basepaths, third baseman Lakken Meredith made a great play on a slow roller to get the runner at first to end the inning with Colfax down 2-0.

The Vikings woke up a bit in their half of the inning when Sam Simonson slammed a double off the fence and moved to third on a ground out from Emily Tuschl. Karina Wait brought her in a single to right center and Kori Buchanan sent a line drive up the middle. Ottinger hit a pop up to deep short which was dropped to load up the bases and Equality Wilson grounded to second to bring the tying run in. Meredith sent a ground ball to short and her throw was dropped at first, allowing Buchanan to score and a fly out ended the inning with Colfax up 3-2.

Rudi stranded a runner at first in the fifth and the Vikings left one on themselves that inning as they clung to the narrow lead. Then things got interesting. After whiffing the first batter to start the sixth, Rudi had trouble finding the plate and walked two straight Hawks. A wild pitch moved them up a base, then Rudi reared back and struck out another batter. Two more wild pitches allowed Bloomer to score a pair of runs to take the lead without hitting the ball, and another walk, a steal and a wild pitch put a Hawk on third before a fly ball to Wilson in left ended the inning.

But then, what fans had been waiting for finally came about as the Vikings started swinging the bat with some authority, starting with Buchanan’s double to center. Ottinger drilled another shot that went off the outfielder’s glove for an RBI and the tying run and Wilson reached on an error by the third baseman. Rudi drew a walk to load up the bases but the runners weren’t there long as Doucette, who was hitless in the game, smacked a two base hit to left to bring in two runs. Simonson walked and Tuschl sent a deep fly ball  to right center which crossed up the two fielders and they collided and dropped the ball in the process, allowing two more runners to come home.

The Vikings continued to make contact with the ball as Wait sent a shot through the infield for an RBI and  Buchanan doubled to the fence for a 10-4 lead. Ottinger sent a ball past third base to score the final run of the game for the Vikings.

Meredith finished up on the mound and after giving up a lead off single to start the seventh, fielded a ground ball for the first out, caught a pop up for the second and the game ended on a ground ball to Tuschl at second.

“All year we have had trouble in the first inning,” coach Joe Doucette said after the win. “After the two errors we played pretty good defense. Rudi had good velocity and with the exception of the sixth inning, I though she pitched pretty well. We had a lot of good at bats in the sixth inning and it’s nice to get a win and keep playing.”

Buchanan finished 3 for 4 at the plate while Rudi and Ottinger both had two hits. Doucette and Wait were both credited with a pair of RBIs. Rudi earned the win, throwing a five hitter with seven strikeouts and five walks.

Bloomer  1  0  0  1  0  2  0 – 4
Colfax      0  0  0  3  0  8  X – 11