In a trio of games against southern Dunn-St. Croix opponents this past week, the Glenwood City softball team claimed a pair of victories.
The Hilltoppers were able to bookend solid wins over Elmwood and Plum City around a narrow defeat to Pepin/Alma.
After having its April 20 home game against Spring Valley postponed due to cold, wet and windy weather, Glenwood City scored a big 8-3 road win the following day (Tuesday, April 21) over third-place Elmwood.
The Toppers, however, were not able to put a winning streak together as they fell to Pepin/Alma in a gut-wrenching, 4-2 home loss in which they had trouble hitting the ball.
The Glenwood gals did rebound this past Monday, April 27, with an 18-8, six-inning pasting of Plum City.
Glenwood City, now 4-3 in conference and 4-4 overall, opened the second-round of conference games in Boyceville yesterday (April 28). The Toppers will play at St. Croix Central this Thursday, April 30 and return home to host Colfax on Monday, May 4 before traveling to Mondovi the following day (Tuesday, May 5).
GC Pummels PC
An early offensive eruption carried Glenwood City to an 18-8 home victory over Plum City in a six-inning contest held Monday, April 27 on Glenwood City’s Memorial Field.
Glenwood City scored four runs in the first and another eight in the second en route to the ten run win, which featured 13 hits by the homestanding Hilltoppers including a pair of solo home runs by Megan Samens and Natalie Gabbert.
“We started off pretty aggressive and kept at it,” stated Toppers’ head coach Pete Gaustad.
“We were the patient hitters I have expected all year,” continued the coach. “In past games we would be swinging at some pitches out of the (strike) zone but tonight the girls were patient at bat and drove the ball or took a walk.”
“It was a great hitting night and all the girls got into the action and made things happen.”
Megan Samens went three for three at the plate, which included a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.
Carlee Strong also had three hits – two singles and a lead-off double to open the Toppers first inning – in five plate appearance with two runs scored and a pair of RBIs.
“Carlee did a great job leading off,” Gaustad said. “Her bat has been huge for us this year. She provides a great spark in that lead off spot.”
Three other Hilltoppers also had a pair of hits in the contest.
Leslie Ludtke, Jenesa Klinger and Natalie Gabbert all finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Natalie sent her solo shot over the fence in the bottom of the fourth.
The Toppers added two more runs in the third and another in the fourth.
Leslie Ludtke pitched four strong innings for the Toppers surrendering six hits and three runs and struck at four to get the win. GC led 15-3 when she exited.
Strong relieved Ludtke in the fifth but struggled with her control, giving up eight walks, four hits and five runs in two innings of work.
But the Toppers’ offense lent its support and scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to ten-run the Blue Devils in the 18-8 victory.
“My only issue tonight was our mental lapses,” concluded Gaustad. “We ran ourselves out of runs or failed to communicate on defense.”
Eagles Edge Toppers
Glenwood City had its chances but just could not get the timely hits it needed in an upset bid against the second-place Eagles of Pepin/Alma during a home game at the City Memorial Field last Thursday, April 23.
The Eagles outhit the Hilltoppers seven to three and made the most of three Glenwood City errors to post a slim 4 to 2 victory in Dunn-St. Croix softball action.
“This was a tale of dead bats,” said Glenwood City head coach Pete Gaustad.
“We just did not hit tonight, added Gaustad. “Having only three hits in the game after all the hits on Tuesday made it a tough game.”
The Topper girls’ collected 11 hits in an 8-3 win at Elmwood two days prior.
But Pepin/Alma hurler Emily Kircher kept the Glenwood City hitters off balance for much of the game as she struck out seven in a winning effort.
“Kircher pitched well and caused us to strikeout or get under the ball,” stated Gaustad. “When you are hitting pop-ups in the infield it makes for an easy defensive day.”
Pepin/Alma built a 4-0 lead with single runs in the third and fifth innings and a pair of scores in the fourth off Glenwood City starter Leslie Ludtke, who suffered the seven-inning loss despite surrendering just one walk and recording four strikeouts.
In both the third and fourth innings, a pair of singles and a Toppers’ error helped the Eagles plate runs.
Pepin/Alma added its last run in the top of the fifth when two singles and a walk pushed the visitor’s lead to four nil.
After collecting just a single hit and two walks off Kircher through the first four innings, Glenwood City was offered an offensive windfall in the fifth.
Kircher started that inning by walking two batters and hitting another with a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
Carlee Strong then laced a two-run single to center that cut the Toppers deficit in half.
But Kircher and the Eagles would not surrender another run as they quickly slammed the door on the Toppers’ offensive opportunity.
Megan Samens was tagged out trying to take third on Strong’s hit for the Toppers’ first out. Mikaela Voeltz then grounded out to first and Natalie Gabbert popped out to Kircher to end the Toppers’ threat.
Hannah Ludtke’s two-out double in the Toppers’ sixth was the only baserunner that Kircher allowed after that as the Eagles’ pitcher retired six of the final seven Toppers’ batters she faced for the win.
Leslie Ludtke’s fourth-inning single accounted for the Hilltoppers’ third hit.
Win in Elmwood
Unlike the Pepin/Alma game, Glenwood City enjoyed plenty of offensive success when it played in Elmwood Tuesday, April 21.
The Lady Hilltoppers collected 11 hits including four doubles to upend the Raiders, 8-3, in a Dunn-St. Croix softball game played in cold, snow and sleet.
“The conditions were less than ideal,” noted Toppers’ coach Pete Gaustad.
“The kids were resilient and seemed to welcome the weather.”
It obviously did not have much effect on the GC offense as all nine of Glenwood City’s batters recorded at least one hit, lead by Leslie Ludtke and Jenesa Klinger, who both finished with two hits including a double.
Sister duo, Nikki and Natalie Gabbert, each had doubles as well.
The conditions didn’t seem to hamper Leslie Ludtke’s performance on the mound either.
The Toppers’ senior pitching ace scattered six hits and five walks while striking out three in the seven-inning win.
“Leslie pitched great,” stated Gaustad. “Her control was spot on.”
While the Toppers had some lively bats in Elmwood last Tuesday, they still stranded 14 base runners.
“That’s way too many runners left on base and is not going to win you many close games.”
But the Toppers played well defensively limiting the Raiders scoring opportunities with a couple of well timed pickoff plays.
Mikaela Voeltz picked up the Toppers’ first hit with a one out single in the first. She came in to score on Leslie Ludtke’s double for a 1-0 GC lead.
Glenwood City added two more runs in the top of the third. Nikki Gabbert doubled with one out. Hannah Ludtke then reached base on a Raiders’ error. With a pair of runners on, freshman Jenesa Klinger slapped a double to bring both runners home.
“Jenesa’s double to bring in two runs was a great motivator,” noted Gaustad.
While Leslie Ludtke was holding the Raiders’ offense scoreless, the Toppers offense continued to produce.
In the fifth, Glenwood City added three more runs highlighted by Natalie Gabbert’s two run double for a 6-0 advantage.
The Hilltoppers added two more scores in the top of the sixth on singles by Klinger and Taylor Brittain and a pair of walks
Trailing 8-0, Elmwood finally erased its scoreboard goose egg with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Raiders got a walk and back-to-back hits off Ludtke in their last at bat to put a third run on the board, but the Toppers’ hurler worked her way out of it with three ground outs to claim victory.