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Hilltopper girls come from behind for win over Vikings

COLFAX — Trailing 6-4 heading into the seventh inning, the Glenwood City girls came up with five runs to pull out a 9-6 win on the road against Colfax April 10.

The Toppers took an early 1-0 lead when Carlee Strong smashed the first pitch of the game up the middle for a single, stole second, moved to third on a tag up from a fly ball by Mikaela Voeltz, then scored on another tag up on Natalie Gabbert’s fly ball. The Vikings came back with two runs and held the 2-1 lead until the third when the Toppers manufactured two more runs of their own. Strong again found the first pitch to her liking and smacked a single to left, then moved to third on a base hit by Voeltz. Strong scored on another fly ball tagup off the bat of Gabbert and after moving to third on a ground ball out, Voeltz came home on a wild pitch for a 3-2 Topper lead. But a string of hits by Colfax and a pair of throwing errors by the Toppers allowed the Vikings to regain the lead at 5-3 and up it to 6-3 in the fourth when a fly ball up in the wind was misplayed in the outfield.

Hilltopper pitcher Leslie Ludtke found her groove after that and mowed the Vikings down in order in the fifth inning. They then put another run across when Taylor Brittain beat out an infield hit, moved up on a wild pitch and beat the throw to the plate after a base hit by Strong. With two runners on, Ludtke sent a deep fly fall to center, but the wind held it up enough for the Viking fielder to flag it down for the third out.

Ludtke again made quick work on the mound, putting Colfax down 1-2-3 on two ground ball outs and a pop up. It was crunch time and the Toppers responded when Nikki Gabbert started the seventh with a solid single to right which was misplayed, allowing her to go to second.After a pop up for the first out, the flood gates opened as Jenesa Klinger dropped a ball behind third base which the shortstop dropped, then Brittain beat out a ground ball between the pitcher and shortstop to load the bases. Megan Samens then slammed a double to center to tie the game and moved to third on a throw home which put the Toppers up 7-6. Strong sent a fly ball to left that was deep enough to score Strong, then Voeltz reached base on an infield error. Natalie Gabbert sent another fly ball to deep left center which fell between the outfielders to score Voeltz, but was thrown out at third on the play ending the half inning with a 9-6 Glenwood lead. Ludtke then put the hammer down and got the Vikings down in order to end the game.

“I kept telling the girls they  have to stay focused all the way through the game and not let a bad play stick with them,” Hilltopper coach Pete Gaustad said.”We had some errors in one inning that cost us some runs but the girls didn’t let that bother them. Last year it would have but these girls are learning to make plays and think and stay in the moment.We were aggressive on the basepaths and that allowed us to score a few runs early on and keep us in the game.We put the bat on the ball in the seventh and some good things happened,” he added.

Strong led the hitting brigade with three hits with a pair of RBIs, Samens was 2 fo2 with three RBIs and Nikki Gabbert was 2 for 3. Ludtke gave up six hits, struck out two batters and walked just one for the win.