COLFAX — Glenwood City threw a scare into small Dunn-St. Croix softball champion Elmwood last week.
The Hilltoppers pushed the Raiders to the brink but Elmwood came up with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stave off defeat and earn a hard-won 6-5 home victory over Glenwood City in a small Dunn-St. Croix softball battle last Monday, May 16.
The Hilltoppers overcame an early 4-1 deficit with a pair of runs in the firth and sixth inning to take a one-run lead. But the Raiders, down to their final two outs of the game, scored twice in the bottom half of the seventh to claim the 6-5 win.
Glenwood City, however, was able to wash away the bitter taste of heartbreak three days later when it went in to Colfax and hammered the Vikings 14-4 in six innings and end the regular season on a winning note.
The Hilltoppers, who finished in a second-place tie with Pepin/Alma in the small D-SC with identical 6-7 marks and 7-12 overall, opened WIAA Division 3 regional play at home yesterday against Osseo-Fairchild. A win sends Glenwood City to Elk Mound today (May 25) to face the top-seeded and two-time Dunn-St. Croix Champion Mounders. Regional finals are Friday.
Glenwood City held a 12 to eight advantage in hits and had no errors compared to three for Elmwood, but the home-standing Raiders still found a way to win and in dramatic fashion.
Down by a run with one out in the bottom half of the seven, Elmwood scored twice on a pair of hits to escape with a 6-5 win.
It was especially heartbreaking for the Hilltoppers after they had overcome a 4-1 deficit to take the lead with a pair of two-run innings.
“We fought back against Elmwood and had them beat but they did their job in the bottom of the seventh,” said Pete Gaustad, Glenwood City head coach.
“The girls have shown their tenaciousness on the field, we did leave some opportunities to get some runs in though,” added Gaustad.
“Sometimes playing well and losing is okay,” added the coach. “Although we never want to lose, we played a solid game and cannot hang our heads.”
Mikayla Afdahl drew a first-inning walk from Toppers starting pitcher Maggie Wallin and then came around to score the game’s first run.
Both the Toppers and Raiders scored a run in the second. Wallin singled and scored to knot the game at one.
Elmwood quickly shot back into the lead when Addie Morell tripled then scored in the bottom of the second frame.
The Raiders added to their lead an inning later when Kali Brathol singled and Afdahl double to lead off the third. Both scored to give Elmwood a 4-1 lead.
It would stay that way until the Toppers’ fifth when they added two runs to cut the Elmwood lead to one. Jenesa Klinger led off with a double. Natalie Gabbert followed with a triple that brought Klinger to home plate with the score. Moriah Voeltz stepped to the plate and launched her own triple to score Gabbert.
In the sixth, Glenwood City added two more runs to take the lead. The Toppers had three hits and took advantage of a pair of fielder’s choices to score Bridgitte Weyer and Carlee Strong.
The Toppers would hold the 5-4 lead until the seventh.
That’s when Elmwood scored twice to take the 6-5 win.
Wallin suffered the loss despite holding the hard-hitting Raiders to eight hits and no walks.
Gabbert sparked the offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate including a double and triple, two RBIs and a run scored. Moriah Voeltz had two hits as did Tia Carlson.
The Hilltoppers started slowly in their conference and regular season finale in Colfax Thursday, May 19.
Glenwood City had a hard time connecting with the throws by the Vikings’ freshman pitcher Tamara Huffman in the early going.
“We were a bit sluggish to start,” said Coach Gaustad. “Our bats were sleeping and we just could not time their pitcher.”
Still the Toppers had managed a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth inning. That’s when everything changed.
Morgan Peterson singled off Huffman to open the inning. After Strong struck out and Taylor Brittain grounded out, Huffman plunked Jenesa Klinger and Natalie Gabbert with pitches in back-to-back at-bats to load the bases. Those proved to be fatal errors as sophomore Mariah Voeltz stepped into the batter’s box and unloaded for a grand slam that put Glenwood City in front to stay. The Toppers added two more runs in the inning for a 9-2 lead.
The Vikings, who scored twice in the first, got a pair back in the bottom half of the inning to make it 9-4.
Glenwood City added a run in the fifth and tacked on four more in the sixth to finish off Colfax 14-4.
Glenwood City finished with 11 hits led by a 3-for-4 performance from Voeltz, who along with her home run had a double and triple for six RBIs and two runs scored. Gabbert tallied two hits with a double, a pair of runs scored and three RBIs. Tia Carlson and Morgan Peterson both finished with two hits.
Maggie Wallin allowed just four hits to secure the mound win.
Colfax’ Mikaela Liebfried had three – all singles – of the Vikings’ hits.