That 3-0 start may seem like a distant memory to the Boyceville softball team.
The momentum of that quick start and the confidence it created has all but dissipated as the Bulldogs have lost six of its past seven games, many heartbreakingly close. Four of those losses have been by three or fewer runs.
This week alone, Boyceville has lost games to Colfax, Pepin, a non-conference doubleheader in Cumberland and most recently an extra-innings defeat to unbeaten Elk Mound. The lone bright spot was a 10-run, 12-2 victory in Mondovi.
Mounders win in Extra Innings
When Boyceville played in Elk Mound Monday, April 20, the game quickly became a pitching duel and remained so through the first six innings.
Despite cold and windy conditions, starters Katie Kegen of Boyceville and Elk Mound’s Dayna Kotecki battled one another and the opposing hitters in a tight 1-0 game heading into the seventh and final inning of regulation play.
Kotecki and Kegen had both surrendered walks and bases to the opposition but had allowed just a single run.
Kotecki had walked seven but had held Boyceville hitless. Kegen was also dominating as she had given up just a pair of hits in that period and had retired 12 of the 13 batters during a stretch from the third to sixth innings.
The lone run came in the first inning when Abbey Olson singled in the Mounders first at bat, then stole second and eventually scored on a pair of passed balls. That gave Elk Mound a 1-0 advantage it would hold until the seventh inning.
But when Kotecki stumbled in the top of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs saw an opportunity and jumped on it.
Kotecki walked the first four Boyceville hitters that she faced which brought in the game-tying run.
That was it for the Mounders’ ace. Abbey Olson came on in relief.
Lexi Peterson greeted Olson with a bases-loaded single to score a pair of runs and give Boyceville its first lead at 3-1.
The Bulldogs scored their fourth run of the inning on a passed ball.
Olson finally struck out Brooklynn Blaser and Kayla Nelson to end the Boyceville seventh but not until the Bulldogs had plated four runs.
All Boyceville and Kegen needed were three outs and they would have a marquee win over unbeaten and conference front-runner Elk Mound.
But that proved easier said than done.
The Mounders’ number nine hitter, Lauren Scharlau, tagged Kegen for a one-out single. Kegen then gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases.
A pop fly out to shortstop Brooklyn Blaser left the Bulldogs just one out from victory.
Instead, the Mounders were able to draw a walk to score a run to pull within 4-2.
On the next play, Boyceville committed an error allowing Elk Mound to plate two runs and knot the game at four all. Kegen struck out the final batter to send the game to extra innings.
It remained tied after the eighth as Kegen was able to work out of a slight jam after hitting and walking two of the first three Mounders she faced in that inning.
After Olson struck out the first two Boyceville batters in the top of the ninth inning, Peyton Hellmann and Lexi Petersen had consecutive hits. But a promising inning ended on a ground out to third.
Things, however, unraveled for the Bulldogs in the bottom half of the inning as Elk Mound scored three runs with out the aid of a hit to claim the 7-4 win.
Kegen hit the lead-off batter and had a pair of walks but it was three straight defensive errors that did in the Bulldogs and help the Mounders score the game-winning runs.
Kegen, who allowed just three hits and just one earned run while walking eight, suffered the loss as she pitched all nine innings for the Bulldogs. Olson was awarded the win after taking over for Kotecki in the seventh.
Both teams finished with just three hits. Lexi Petersen had a pair of singles for Boyceville as did Abbey Olson for Elk Mound.
Drop Pair in Cumberland
A break from the Dunn-St. Croix schedule did not bring Boyceville a win.
Instead, the Bulldogs dropped both games of a Saturday, April 18 softball doubleheader in Cumberland.
The Bulldog’s fell 16-2 and 9-7 to the Beavers.
Boyceville fell behind early in both games.
In the opener, Cumberland scored two runs in the first inning, four in the second and a five runs in the third and fourth innings en route to a 16-2 shellacking of the Bulldogs, whose only scores came in the third inning.
Boyceville finished with five hits including a Kayla Nelson double which scored both runs.
Kaylie Krueger started and went three innings. Krueger took the loss, giving up six hits, seven walks and 11 runs. Kayla Nelson pitched an inning, surrendering five runs on three hits
Things did not start much better for the Bulldogs in the second game.
The Beavers jumped on top with a five-run first inning and added another run in the second.
Boyceville scored once in the first and another in the second but plated two runs in the third and three more in the fourth.
But Cumberland added a pair in its half of the fourth and a final run in the fifth to take a 9-7 win and the sweep.
Madysn Riek and Brooklyn Blaser each had a double in the second game. Riek also had a pair of RBIs and a stolen base. Maddy Bygd, Racheal Anderson and Kayla Nelson also stole a base.
Katie Kegen pitched all five innings as she surrendered eight hits and nine runs in a losing effort.
There were no stats available for Cumberland.
Win in Mondovi
An eight-run third inning help propel Boyceville to 12-2 road victory over Mondovi April 16.
The win ended the Bulldogs three-game losing skid as well.
Although the Bulldogs only had four hits, they took advantage of three Mondovi errors and 11 walks, 10 by Buffaloes’ starter Jacquelyn Laursen, to win the game in five innings.
Boyceville scored four runs in the opening frame to set the stage for a big third inning.
Mondovi scored both of its runs in the third.
Maddy Bygd had two of Boyceville four hits including a double and finished with three RBIs. Peyton Hellmann and Lexi Peterson had the other two hits.
Kayla Nelson pitched all five innings for Boyceville to take the win. She struck out one and walked six.
Fall to Pepin/Alma
Despite out hitting the Eagles seven to six, Boyceville committed seven errors and its pitchers gave up eight walks in a 14-8 softball loss to Pepin/Alma on Tuesday, April 14.
The game was played in Pepin.
Head coach Jamie Olson said the Bulldogs hit the ball well but couldn’t get the big hit with runners on base.
Pepin/Alma scored four runs in the second on three hits – half of it’s game total – and was aided by a pair of walks.
Boyceville answered with a four runs in the top of the third to tie the game.
Morgan Kuhn reached on an error to start the inning. Lexi Peterson, Brooklynn Blaser and Kayla Nelson had consecutive singles – Nelson picked up a pair of RBIs and Blaser one. Katie Kegen’s ground out brought in the fourth and final run of the inning.
But the Eagles responded with four more runs in the bottom half of the innings without a hit. Four Boyceville errors helped Pepin/Alma retake the lead at 8-4.
The Bulldogs scored once in the fourth.
The Eagles scored three more times in the fifth to up its advantage to 11-5.
In the sixth, Racheal Anderson delivered a bases-loaded triple to score three runs that pulled the Bulldogs to within three runs of the home team.
But Pepin/Alma took advantage of two more Boyceville errors and scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 14-8 win.
The Eagles were able to score six runs in their final two innings despite having just one hit in that span.
Once again, Boyceville outhit an opponent only to find itself playing catch-up throughout the game.
Colfax jumped on Boyceville for a four runs in the first inning when it came to Boyceville’s Pafko Memorial Park for a Dunn-St. Croix softball game Monday, April 13.
Boyceville starter Kayla Nelson did not make it out of the first inning of the game. In fact, she faced just five batters and was replaced by Katie Kegen after surrendering three walks and a big double to the Vikings’ Kori Buchanan. Nelson was also hurt by a fielding error.
The Vikings parlayed the opportunity into four runs.
Boyceville took a pair back in its half of the first inning.
Lexi Peterson drew a lead off walk and Brooklyn Blaser followed and reached on an error. Both players came into score.
Maddy Bygd doubled and scored in the second inning and Kayla Nelson tripled and scored in the third as Boyceville rallied to even the game at four.
Colfax added a run in the fifth without a hit as Boyceville committed two more errors.
The Bulldogs got the run back in the bottom of the sixth.
Peyton Hellmann walked to open the inning and scored on Lexi Peterson’s triple.
But the Vikings’ Kori Buchanan walked and came around to score the winning run on a Dalynn Mortenson single and a final Bulldogs’ error.
Lakken Meredeth retired Boyceville in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to get the complete game win. Meredeth walked four, struck out five and gave up six hits.
Katie Kegen did well in relief of Nelson. She surrendered just two runs on three hits and a pair of walks and had five strikeouts.
Six of the Bulldogs hits went for extra bases. Lexi Peterson had two hits including a triple, Kayla Nelson also had a triple and Maddy Bygd belted a double.