Facing a team from the Big Rivers Conference for their home and season opener, the Elk Mound girls’ softball team saw an 8-0 lead against Menomonie dwindle but played a solid enough defense to take an 8-6 win over the Mustangs April 2.
After a scoreless first two and a half innings, the Mounders broke through in the bottom of the third as Morgan Polden led off the inning with a single to right and moved up on a wild pitch. Lauren Scharlau promptly brought her home with a double to center and after Abbey Olson reached base on a dropped third strike which allowed Scharlau to move to third, Lexi DeLong plated her with a ground out to second. Elizabeth Schreiber then sent a shot over the left-centerfield fence for a two run tater and a 4-0 lead.
Mounder pitcher Dayna Kotecki seemed to be in control of the game as she struck out a batter and forced a groundout and a lineout to shortstop Olson in the top of the fourth. The Mounders tacked on some more runs in the bottom of the inning as Jade Sorenson slammed a double down the third base line and Morgan McDougall bunted for a hit. Polden laid down another slick bunt and the throw to third was late, loading the bases. After a strikeout, Olson grounded to the pitcher who threw home too late, giving the Mounders a 5-0 lead. DeLong then smacked a double up the middle to score McDougall and Polden, then Schreiber plated Olson on a groundout and the Mounders were up 8-0 at the end of the inning.
The Mustangs broke the shutout with a run in the fifth inning on a couple of hits and a pair of groundouts, and made things interesting in the sixth. After Kotecki retired the first two batters on a fly ball and a groundout, the third out became very elusive as the Mustangs used two singles, a walk with a few wild pitches and an infield error to score three runs. A double to left brought in another run but Kotecki bore down and got the third out on a called third strike, leaving the Mounders up 8-5.
“We kind of lost our focus in that inning,” Mounder coach Dylan Pronschinske said. “But Dayna helped us out and got the third out for us.”
Olson took over for Kotecki in the seventh and although she gave up a run, she had a pair of strikeouts and snared a line drive for the third out with a runner on second to preserve the win.
“This was a nice win for us against a quality team,” Pronschinske said. “We had a few players making their varsity debut for us and they did a pretty good job. We had some opening game jitters but we managed to stay in control when Menomonie made a run at us. We have a lot to work on but we will continue to improve,” he added.
Kotecki picked up the win allowing six hits with five strikeouts and no free passes. Six different Mounders all had a hit with Schreiber and DeLong both collecting a trio of RBI.
MENOMONIE 0 0 0 0 1 4 1 – 6
ELK MOUND 0 0 4 4 0 0 X -8