The Elk Mound softball team improved their record to 8-0 and 6-0 in Dunn-St. Conference play with a 6-0 win over Colfax on the Vikings’ home field April 23. Earlier in the week, the Mounders needed to go into extra innings before sneaking past the Boyceville Bulldogs 7-4.
The Vikings were coming off an 18-11 win over Mondovi just two days earlier but struggled to put the ball in play against Mounder pitchers Dayna Kotecki and Abbey Olson. After a scoreless first inning, the Mounders broke through for three runs in the second when Kari Jo Nigon singled to bring in Lexi DeLong who had drawn a walk. Nigon ended up scoring on a ground ball out, then Emily Ausman reached on an error and Morgan Polden drew a walk and stole second. Lauren Scharlau then brought them both home on a smash past third base. Abbey Olson sent a deep ball to the outfield but Colfax centerfielder Karina Wait made a nice running catch to end the inning.
The Vikings threatened in the bottom of the inning after Wait and Courtney Ottinger singled to put runners on first and third with one out. After Ottinger stole second, the next two batters went out as Kotecki whiffed one and forced a pop up to first base.
DeLong led off the third by drawing another walk off Colfax starting hurler Lakken Meredith. She moved her way around the bases on a single by Elizabeth Schreiber and a Colfax error for a 4-0 lead. The Vikings put runners on in the bottom of the inning as Meredith singled with two outs and Kori Buchanan reached on a Mounder error but Kotecki again put the fire out by forcing a pop up for the third out. Kotecki led off the fourth with a shot over the fence to up the Mounder lead to 5-0 and their final run came in the sixth as Olson, DeLong and Schreiber all smacked base hits off Colfax reliever Becca Lee with Schreiber getting the RBI. Olson took over on the mound for Kotecki for the final two innings and allowed just one Viking to reach base, as Tiernee Knutson walked but was forced out at second base in the sixth inning.
Kotecki was credited with the win giving up six hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Meredith, who left the pitcher’s mound with a leg injury after the third inning, absorbed the loss, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks with one strikeout.
ELK MOUND 0 3 1 0 1 1 0 — 6
COLFAX 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
On a cold and blustery day, both teams were having trouble throwing, catching and hitting the ball resulting in the Mounders scoring one run in the first inning and holding that lead all the way until the seventh inning. Olson singled, stole second and scored on two straight passed balls to account for the run. Kotecki was mowing down Bulldogs for the first six innings, allowing just four of them to reach base but never more than one in any inning. The Mounders took advantage of inconsistent pitching and defense by the Bulldogs in the top of the seventh when Scharlau banged a one out single, Olson, DeLong and Kotecki all drew walks which brought a run in, and with two outs, a pair of Bulldog errors on a ground ball to the infield allowed two more Mounders to come home for what appeared to be a commanding lead 4-0 lead.
Trying to get just three more outs so they could get to the warm bus and head for home ended up being a difficult task however. Kotecki lost her focus and walked the first four batters in the bottom of the seventh to cut their lead in half, prompting coach Dylan Pronschinske to bring Olson in. After a strikeout, Olson gave up a base hit that brought two Bulldogs in to knot the score. Olson then whiffed the next two batters to send the game into extra innings.
Elk Mound had a chance to win it in the eighth when Emily Ausman was hit by a pitch and Scharlau drew a walk but a ground ball to the shortstop ended the threat. Olson put the Bulldogs down in order and in the top of the ninth, Elk Mound simply put the ball in play and saw a lot of good things happen for them. With two outs, Nigon took a walk and Jade Sorenson, Ausman and Polden all hit ground balls which the Bulldog infielders failed to field, resulting in several throwing errors. After a walk to Scharlau a pop up to short ended the inning but not before the Mounders had a 7-4 lead.
Olson decided it was time to hit the road and after striking out the first two batters, then giving up a pair of hits, forced a ground ball out to finish off the win.
“The weather just made it hard to hold onto the ball for both teams,” Pronschinske said. “We had to take advantage of what they gave us since we weren’t making very good contact at the plate. It certainly wasn’t a pretty win but we’ll take it.”
Scharlau batted 2 for 3 for the day while Nigon was 1 for 2 with a double and two RBIs and Schreiber was 1 for 3 with a triple. Olson earned the win with six strikeouts and no free passes.
ELK MOUND 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 — 7
BOYCEVILLE 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 — 4