Glenwood City split a pair of conference softball games last week in which the long ball played a role.
The Hilltoppers’ smacked two home runs, both off the bat of Natalie Gabbert, to earn a shut-out victory against Mondovi at home April 13 only to have Elk Mound return the favor three days later in a heartbreaking 8-4 road loss to the conference-leading Lady Mounders.
The outcomes put the Toppers’ conference record at 2-2 and their overall mark at 2-3. Glenwood City’s April 20 home game against Spring Valley was postponed due to cold weather and gusting winds. It will be rescheduled.
Toppers tame Buffaloes
Senior hurler Leslie Ludtke pitched a one-hit shutout to help lead Glenwood City to a 10-0, five-inning whitewash of Mondovi in a Dunn-St. Croix girls’ softball showdown at Glenwood City’s Memorial Field April 13.
Kaylee Nygaard of Mondovi broke up Ludtke’s no-hitter bid with a two-out single in the fifth inning.
“I cannot say enough about how great Leslie pitched,” said Pete Gaustad, Glenwood City’s head coach.
“After giving up the lead-off walk, she set the next 14 batters down in order,” added Gaustad.
The Toppers also showed plenty of offensive fire power led by Natalie Gabbert’s 3-for-5 performance at the plate that featured a pair of home runs and five Runs Batted In.
“Natalie hit the ball really hard,” stated Gaustad. “She had been missing balls by just a little bit but against Mondovi she turned on pitches and had some great hits. Those two homers and the single was just what she needed.”
Glenwood City jumped all over Mondovi early, picking up three runs in both the first and second innings to take a 6-0 advantage.
In the Hilltoppers first at bat, Carlee Strong slapped a single. Mondovi starter Jacquelyn Laursen then plunked Mikaela Voeltz with a pitch to put a pair on base for Natalie Gabbert. The sophomore turned on a 2-1 Laursen offering to clear the bases and give the Toppers a 3-0 push.
Those same three individuals would plate runs for Glenwood City in the second.
Again, it was Strong that started the inning off with a hit. Voeltz reached on an error. Natalie Gabbert singled in Strong. Voeltz and Natalie Gabbert came around to score when Nikki Gabbert reached base on Mondovi’s second error of the inning and Hannah Ludtke followed with a base hit that made it 6-0.
In the fourth, Glenwood City put two more runs in the score column. Leslie Ludtke and Nikki Gabbert drew free passes to open the inning and eventually scored.
The Hilltoppers final two runs came in the fifth. Natalie Gabbert hit a one-out solo home run to bring an end to Laursen’s day on the mound. Older sibling Nikki Gabbert hit reliever Emily Weiss’ second pitch for a double. Nikki came around with the Toppers final score when Weiss walked three straight Glenwood City batters.
“This game was very important,” said head coach Pete Gaustad of the Mondovi win. “We had just played a hard and came back (to win) against Colfax, so it was good to see the girls have that same intensity against Mondovi.”
Ludtke faced just 18 batters in earning the five-inning win. The senior gave up just one single while striking out four and walking one.
Laursen took the loss after giving up eight hits, four walks and nine runs in four and two-third innings of work. She also had four strikeouts.
Toppers fall short against EM
Elizabeth Schreiber hit a pair of home runs – a two-run shot in the first followed by a three-run dinger in the fourth – and Dayna Kotecki and Abbey Olson combined to give a 4-hit pitching performance as the Mounders snapped the Toppers two-game win streak and took a key 8-4 win in Dunn-St. Croix softball action.
“Elk Mound hit the ball really well,” said coach Gaustad.
The Mounders collected a dozen hits off of Toppers’ starter Leslie Ludtke, who went the distance and finished with a pair of walks and strikeouts.
“Unfortunately for us, two of their hits were home runs that gave them five runs.”
Gaustad noted that Kotecki is a tough thrower that mixes her pitches well and that the Mounders do not lose much when they use Olson.
While the Toppers, who had five hits, were able to make contact many of those went directly to defensive players.
While three errors contributed to the Hilltoppers’ lose so did lapses on the base paths.
“Our base running needs to improve,” stated Gaustad. “We cannot waste opportunities against a team like Elk Mound. We cost ourselves two runs by not being smart.”
“We also had a few errors that nipped us some,” continued Gaustad. “Good teams know how to capitalize on the mistakes.”
The Toppers were the first to score.
Mikaela Voeltz singled with an out in the first inning. She then took second on an error and advanced to third on a sacrifice hit by Natalie Gabbert. Voeltz scored one Leslie Ludtke’s two-out single to center.
The Mounders, however, got the run back and added another on Schreiber’s two-run home in the bottom half of the first.
Lexi Delong singled with one out for the Mounders. Elizabeth Schreiber, hitting in the number three, power position, sent Leslie Ludtke 0-1 offering over the fence for a 2-1 Mounders’ lead.
The score would remain that way until the top of the fourth, when Carlee Strong singled to score Taylor Brittain and tie the game at two.
But one swing of Schreiber’s bat in the bottom half of the frame, put Elk Mound back in front.
After retiring the first two batters she faced, Ludtke surrendered back-to-back singles to Abbey Olson and Lexi Delong. Schreiber then stepped in the batter box and uncorked a fence-clearing and bases-clearing shot that put three more runs on the Mounders’ side of the scoreboard. It was also Schreiber’s third hit against Ludtke in as many appearances.
Elk Mound added a run in the fifth and followed with two more in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead.
Lexi Delong hit her third single of the game to open the sixth. Then Schreiber picked up her fourth hit in as many attempts, knocking a double to give the Mounders a pair of baserunners. Two Glenwood City errors would let both Delong and Schreiber come home with Elk Mound’s final runs.
The Toppers tried to rally in their final at bat.
Mikaela Voeltz and Natalie Gabbert drew one out walks. Leslie Ludtke then followed with a double off Olson which scored Voeltz. Natalie Gabbert scored on sister Nikki’s ground out to second to make the score 8-4. But the game ended when Hannah Ludtke popped the ball to second for the final out.
Leslie Ludtke had two of the Toppers five hits – a single and that double. Carlee Strong, Mikaela Voeltz and Megan Samens each had singles. Voeltz also had two stolen bases for the Toppers.
Glenwood City was scheduled to play in Elmwood yesterday (April 21) before returning home for a pair of conference games against Pepin/Alma this Thursday, April 23 and Plum City next Monday, April 27. A rematch with the Bulldogs is set for next Tuesday, April 28 in Boyceville.