After their Thursday game against Elmwood was rained out, the Colfax baseball team played back to back games in near perfect weather, dropping an eight inning game against Durand on the road April 10, then bouncing back less than 24 hours later for a 10-8 win at home over Shell Lake in a Saturday morning contest.
The score was knotted at 2-2 after an inning of play but the Vikings fell behind 4-2 after the third. Both teams added a run in the fifth and the Vikings came up with two runs in the top of the seventh to tie it up and the game went into extra innings. Colfax came up empty in their half of the eight, and after the Panthers put two runners on in the bottom of the inning, the runner attempted to steal third and the throw from the catcher went out to left field, allowing the winning run to score.
Sawyer DeMoe and Logan Mittelstadt split the pitching duties, and although they both struck out four batters and gave up five hits, they combined to walk nine Panthers.. DeMoe and Jarrod Rudi both brought in a pair of runs with Rudi rapping four hits and DeMoe one for the game.
COLFAX 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 — 5
DURAND 2 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 — 6
With Rudi gone for the day and DeMoe and Mittelstadt using up some of their allotted pitching innings the day before, coach Tim Wilson had to be a little creative with his lineup for the non-conference contest. Nate Leibfried, the usual starting center fielder, made his appearance on the pitching mound after a three year absence. After a walk to the first batter, Leibfried made things look easy by forcing a ground ball out and striking out the next two batters. The Vikings took advantage of the lack of control from the Laker pitcher in their half of the inning as Leibfried, Brady Simonson, DeMoe and Zach Meyer all drew walks for a 1-0 lead. After a strikeout, Jeremiah Wait took another free pass for a 2-0 lead and Andrew Harmon picked up an RBI on a ground ball out. Mason Harmon then reached on a ground ball that brought in two more runs and after another strikeout the Vikings were up 5-0.
Another lead off walk given up by Leibfried led to a Colfax error and a Laker base hit for two runs before Leibfried forced a fly out and struck out two more batters, stranding a runner on third. Colfax tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second when Simonson drew a walk, DeMoe reached on an infield error, Meyer singled to load the bases and Mittelstadt sent a fly ball to center that was misplayed. Wait took another free pass and Andrew Harmon grounded out again to bring a run in for an 8-2 lead.
Things started to unravel for Leibfried and the Vikings when he walked the first two batters in the third and after getting a ground ball out, walked another Laker to load the bases. He came back to whiff the next batter but walked another one, then gave up a single. After a fly ball out, the inning was finally over but the Vikings were now up by just two runs at 8-6.
Simonson, who also hadn’t done a lot of pitching the past couple of years, took over on the mound in the fourth and after walking a batter and plunking one, got out of the inning unscathed, leaving Lakers stranded on second and third. DeMoe reached base in the Colfax half of the inning on an infield error and Mittelstadt plated him when his ground ball resulted in a throwing error for a 9-6 advantage.
But the fifth inning was nothing but problems for Simonson as he struggled to find the plate. After a ground ball out, he walked three batters, had a wild pitch and hit one, allowing a run to come in. Wilson made a trip to the mound and called on freshman Mitchell Kiekhafer who was in right field to come in. With the score at 9-7 and bases full of Lakers, Kiekhafer walked a batter to make it 9-8. Then the Vikings were helped out on a bizarre play when a pop up in the infield was dropped but the infield fly rule was called. The runner at first seemed confused and he ended up getting doubled off for the third out, getting Kiekhafer out of a jam. Colfax then came back for another run when Leibfried singled, stole second and came home on a double to center by Simonson.
Kiekhafer came back out in the sixth, and although he picked up his first varsity strikeout, he gave up a hit and walked a batter, prompting Wilson to go to the bullpen again. DeMoe came over from first base and got the third out with a big strike out. DeMoe stayed in for the seventh and after the Laker lead off batter was called out on a bunt attempt with two strikes on him, DeMoe began to struggle. He hit a batter and walked one, but his defense came through as a ground ball to second baseman Simonson turned into a tailor made double play with the force at second and shortstop Wait throwing to Meyer who was now at first, ending the two and a half hour contest.
“The guys did a good job with most of them playing out of position,” Wilson said. “But they are willing to play wherever we need them. We have to get more consistent on the mound and not give up so many walks. That puts us in a tough spot when the other teams have runners on all the time.”
The four Colfax pitchers gave up a combined 13 walks while striking out seven. Leibfried had four of those Ks as he earned the win.
SHELL LAKE 0 2 4 0 2 0 0 — 8
COLFAX 5 3 0 1 1 0 X — 10