By Kelsie Hoitomt
The Glenwood City softball team finished their regular season with a loss to Boyceville and Pepin last Tuesday, May 20.
They then headed to Spring Valley on Thursday, May 22 for their first Regional game, which ended in a 17-9 win over the Cardinals.
Due to rain on last Monday and a tight race for the conference champion, the Pepin/Alma team traveled to Glenwood City on Tuesday night to play the Toppers at 7:30 p.m. following the contests against Boyceville.
The evening started with the varsity team hosting Boyceville, which ended in a loss of 17-6 in six innings.
The Toppers went three straight innings with no runs scored, which gave the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.
The bats finally warmed up in the fourth and the Toppers put three runners across home plate after Megan Samens started the inning.
Natalie Gabbert crushed the ball to the outfield to bring Samens home. Then Kelly Perkins followed with a huge triple to put Gabbert across home plate.
Leslie Ludtke singled herself to first, which brought Perkins home and put the score at 6-3 going into the fifth.
A home run and a grand slam jumped the Bulldogs ahead 10-3 and then 17-3 after the top of the sixth inning.
The Toppers answered back with three final runs of their own scored in the bottom of the sixth before the game ended.
Mikaela Voeltz scored after singling herself to first. Gabbert followed with a hit to left field and Perkins mimicked her.
Ludtke followed with a hit and an RBI and then sister Hannah Ludtke knocked one out to center field for two-run RBI double before the final out was had.
Hannah and Leslie led the team in RBIs with two each and Gabbert and Perkins had one.
On the mound, Leslie pitched four innings that game with 27 at bats and seven hits and seven runs with three walks and five strikeouts.
Samens also pitched a few innings with 13 at bats seen and ten runs on four hits allowed.
Eagles Finish on Top
The Pepin/Alma Eagles finished on top of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference after beating the Toppers on Tuesday and Elk Mound won over Colfax.
The game looked optimistic for the Toppers as they appeared to catch the Eagles on an off night.
The Toppers led the game 2-1 for four straight innings after Taylor Brittain and Samens scored in the third on an RBI double by Gabbert. Then Voeltz was pushed home on an RBI by Leslie Ludtke for the third and final run.
The Eagles came out of their funk in the fifth inning and the number one team in the conference appeared, which led to a huge blow out of runs scored.
They scored five runs in the fifth, three in the sixth and then ten in the seventh for the 19-3 final.
The long week of play ended in bitter sweet victory for Toppers as they were able to get their revenge on the Spring Valley Cardinals who previously beat them twice in the regular season, 23-1 and 17-12.
“The girls showed grit that I have been waiting to see all year,” said coach Gaustad. “Getting down to a team we tended to hang our heads and then pressed too much. Last night after being down 5-2 the girls kept fighting.”
The Toppers fought back to score a total of 17 runs, which could have been a further blow out as they left 13 runners on base in the course of the seven innings.
The Cardinals had a one point lead after the first inning and then they took that 5-2 lead in the second.
Samens was the first score for the Toppers in the first and then it was Hannah Ludtke in the second inning after Samens punched one out to center field for the RBI.
The Toppers’ grit showed in the third inning as they fired up the bats and put six runners across home plate to take their first lead of the game, 8-6.
Hannah and Leslie both had an RBI and Samens cracked out another hit to center field for a two-run RBI. The three girls along with Perkins, Nikki Gabbert and Becca Jensen scored the team’s six runs.
The Cardinals scored one run in the third and then three final runs in the fourth for their nine. The Toppers went on to put up three runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth.
Leslie, Jensen and Brittain hit home in the fourth, Perkins and Leslie again scored in the fifth and then in the sixth it was Natalie and Nikki Gabbert, Perkins and Leslie.
Samens led the game in hits with four and also had four RBI’s. Hannah and Leslie each had three RBIs and Voeltz and Natalie had two and Nikki had one.
Leslie was the winning pitcher with 35 at bats, 15 hits, nine runs, three walks and four strikeouts.
The Toppers advanced to the second Regional game, which was played on Tuesday (May 27) at Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran.
The winner of that goes on to play the winner of the Boyceville vs Elmwood/Plum City contest on Thursday, May 29.