The Colfax softball team won in a slugfest to start their busy week off April 27, 21-14 over in Spring Valley then found themselves in three tight home games, winning 3-1 against Elmwood a day later, 4-3 in the first game of a double header against Pepin-Alma and dropping the second one 5-4 April 30. Colfax’s record is now 7-5 with all their games being conference games, placing them fifth in the standings.
The Vikings jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first inning but with both teams pounding the ball the score was 6-6 after two innings of play. After falling behind 9-7, Colfax exploded for six runs in the fourth when Courtney Ottinger slammed her first homerun of the season, and Kori Buchanan, Becca Lee and Karina Wait all singled followed by a double by AJ Ottinger Another single, this time by Mikaela Leibfried, a walk drawn by Hailey Durand and a Cardinal error allowed the Vikings to take a 13-9 lead.
Colfax added four runs in the sixth and three more to finish off their scoring in the seventh while Buchanan took care of business on the mound. With Lakken Meredith, the Viking’s normal starting pitcher nursing a leg injury, Buchanan earned her first win of her career, allowing 12 hits with five strikeouts and seven walks. Colfax rapped 19 hits in the contest as Buchanan helped her cause with a 4 for 6 performance including a homerun, bringing in six runners. Courtney Ottinger was 4-6 with three RBIs, Wait went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and Leibfried was also 3 for 5 with an RBI.
COLFAX 5 1 1 6 1 4 3 – 21
SPRING VALLEY 1 5 3 0 0 4 1 – 14
What a difference a month can make in a softball season. Back on April 7, the Vikings lost the opening game of the season at Elmwood 17-16. This time around both teams had found their groove resulting in a close contest all the way through. Meredith was back on the mound for Colfax and although she gave up a leadoff double to start the game, after the runner moved to third on a bunt, she was stranded there after Meredith struck out a batter on a changeup and forced a ground ball out to shortstop Leibfried. Leibfried then led off the bottom of the first with a single and moved to third when Durand’s shot to third resulted in a throwing error. Meredith was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Buchanan sent a fly ball to right to bring Leibfried in on a tag up. But the next two batters went out and the Vikings had just a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders again had a runner advance to third in the second inning but a strikeout, a pop up to catcher Courtney Ottinger and another groundout to Leibfried left her there. Solid defense and pitching led to neither team scoring until the top of the fourth when the Raider’s Emily Hoyt slammed a double down the third baseline and tied the game on a Colfax throwing error. With two runners on base and two outs, the Vikings showed the true meaning of teamwork when a pop up between home and first resulted in Ottinger and first baseman Makayla Mattson allowing the ball to bounce off one of them, but Meredith, who hustled over from the mound snagged it before it hit the ground for the third out.
“That’s why you tell the kids everyone has to move somewhere on every play,” coach Rich Meredith said.”You never know where that ball is going to end up. But we also tell them to call for the ball so we don’t have to make plays like that,” he said with a laugh.
In the top of the fifth, it looked like the Raiders had Meredith figured out when they put runners on second and third with a single and a double with no outs. But the Colfax defense came up huge as Ottinger dove to snare a foul pop up, Meredith whiffed the next batter and a fly ball to Dailyn Mortenson in left field ended their threat.
The way Elmwood pitcher Addy Welch was throwing, Colfax knew they were going to have to scratch a run across somehow. In the bottom of the sixth with one out, Ottinger was hit by one of Welch’s pitches and Wait smacked what should have been a single to right field, but the fielder charged it and let it go through her legs all the way to the fence and before the ball got back in, Ottinger and Wait had crossed home plate. The next two batters went out but Colfax was now just three outs away from winning the game. Mortenson made a nice running catch for the first out and after the Raiders had a player reach base on an infield hit, a grounder to Leibfried and one to Meredith ended the game.
Meredith threw a five hitter for the win with four free passes and four Ks while Mattson was 2 for 3 at the plate with a double.
ELMWOOD 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 – 1
COLFAX 1 0 0 0 0 2 X – 3
Due to a rainout earlier in the season, the teams played two seven inning games on the day. The Eagles have been a dominant team in the conference the past several years and came into Colfax with a 7-4 record, 7-3 in conference play for second place. The Vikings managed to get a run across in the second inning when Buchanan, Ottinger and Wait singled with Wait’s shot off the third base bag bringing Buchanan home. They left runners on second and third base however, and had just a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles threatened in the third as they put runners on first and second with one out but a force out at third and a line out to Wait in center after a passed ball stranded two P-A runners on second and third. Colfax tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning as leadoff batter Leibfried reached on an infield single, stole second on the first pitch and slid safely under the tag at third on a pop single from Durand. Buchanan then hit the ball just deep enough over second base to allow Leibfried to tag up and score.
P-A got on the board in the fourth on a pair of base hits and a throwing error but Meredith held them in check and left another Eagle runner on second to end the inning. After the Vikings went out in order in their half of the inning, P-A came back with a bang with a single and back to back bunts that were not fielded cleanly by the Vikings. A throwing error on the second bunt allowed the Eagles to score and a fly ball out to center resulted in a tagup and a 3-2 lead. Another fly ball to center and a Meredith strikeout ended the inning.
Colfax responded in the bottom of the inning however, as Mortenson led off with a single and Durand doubled. Mortinson was then thrown out at home on a ground ball putting runners on first and third. Buchanan plated both runners with a double off the centerfield fence and after a final fly ball out, Colfax led 4-3. Meredith did her part again with a 1-2-3 sixth and after allowing the Eagles to put a runner on second in the seventh, she whiffed the final batter to seal the win. Meredith scattered 11 hits with three strikeouts while not giving up any free passes. Durand and Buchanan both had a pair of hits in the contest.
PEPIN-ALMA 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 — 3
COLFAX 0 1 1 0 2 0 X — 4
The Vikings, playing as the visiting team, came out fast with a pair of runs in the first but struggled to get the Eagles out as they gave up four runs in the bottom of the first on a few hits and a couple of errors before Meredith ended the inning with a pair of strikeouts. Colfax knotted things up with two runs in the third when Meredith drew a walk, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Buchanan’s hit. A Wait double brought Buchanan home but she was left on third after a ground out and a fly out ended the inning.
Pepin put what would turn out to be the winning run across in the bottom of the third on a walk, a wild pitch and a two out single. Colfax stranded a runner on third in the fifth and went down quietly in the final two innings to end the game.
Leibfried and Durand both rapped a pair of hits in the loss while Meredith gave up six hits, whiffing seven Eagle batters and walking one.
COLFAX 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 — 4
PEPIN-ALMA 4 0 1 0 0 0 X — 5