By Cara L. Dempski
If you listen to Hilltopper softball coach Pete Gaustad, the Glenwood City squad was lucky to walk away from last Monday’s game at Spring Valley with a win.
Between a lack of hustle, base running errors, and not advancing runners when given opportunity, Gaustad said he could not credit his team’s 11-9 road win over the Cardinals last Monday, May 8 to anything but luck.
[emember_protected] The Lady Toppers had an easier time at home against Elmwood the following day, May 9, beating the Raiders handily, 7-3.
Glenwood City then turned its attention to a May 11 double-header in Alma against the Pepin/Alma Eagles.
The Glenwood City squad earned a 7-0 game one victory, but were edged out 11-10 in the nightcap and had to settle for a split in its regular season series with the Eagles.
And if four games in as many days wasn’t enough, the Hilltoppers closed an already busy week with a pair of Saturday games against Medford and Chequamegon at the Gilman Tournament May 13.
Despite a lopsided 15-1 loss to Medford in the tournament opener, Gaustad said the team played decent ball for four innings.
Unfortunately, the Toppers’ bats did not wake up against Chequamegon either, as the team fell 7-0.
The Lady Hilltoppers faced the Blue Devils in Plum City Monday, May 15, and hosted the final innings of their April 25 game against Boyceville May 16 which was to be followed directly by the two rivals second season contest.
Glenwood City is set to cap its regular season slate Thursday, May 18 with a home showdown against second-place Durand.
Glenwood City currently sits in third place in the Dunn-St. Croix standings at 9-5 and is 11-9 in all games. Regional play starts May 23. The Hilltoppers are 9-5 in the Dunn-St. Croix.
Some wins are not particularly dignified or pretty, but still count in the long run.
That may have been the case in Glenwood City’s 11-9 win at Spring Valley May 8.
“If we have toes left, I would be surprised,” coach Pete Gaustad said after the game. “We shot ourselves in the foot too many times.”
Lack of hustle, base running errors and missed plays aside, the win pushed the Lady Hilltoppers to 7-4 in the Dunn-St. Croix with a little over one week of conference play left.
The Cardinals scored first, earning two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but the Toppers were quick to respond in the second with runs from Tia Carlson, Jenesa Klinger, Emily Hill and Briana Barstad. All four reached base aided by various means including walks, a hit batsman and a fielder’s choice.
But the damaging blow came off the bat of senior Natalie Gabbert who banged a bases-loaded double to drive in three of the runs and put Glenwood City in front 4-2.
Gabbert would prove to be a thorn in the Cardinals side throughout the contest, collecting eight of the Toppers’ nine RBIs in a three-for-four performance at the plate which included a fifth-inning, three-run homer.
While neither team scored in the third, Spring Valley pushed a pair of runs across in the bottom of the fourth to knot the game up.
Glenwood City put more runs on the scoreboard in the final two frames.
In the top of the sixth, Carlson and Klinger delivered back-to-back, one-out singles to set the stage for Natalie Gabbert once again, who parked a three-run shot over the fence to break the deadlock and give the Toppers a 7-4.
The senior shortstop and her teammates added four more runs in the seventh to grow their lead to 11-4. Emily Hill walked and Mariah Voeltz singled to start the frame. Barstad reach on an error to load the bases and Morgan Peterson drew another base-on-balls to bring in a run. Carlson pushed a second run home on yet another walk before Gabbert drove in the Toppers’ final two runs on a single.
Spring Valley nearly rallied in its final at bat, scoring five runs but Glenwood pitcher Maggie Wallin struck out Cardinal Karli Thorson to end the game with the Toppers leading 11-9.
Gabbert accounted for three of the Toppers’ ten hits with Voeltz and Wallin tagging a pair.
Wallin also earned the pitching victory as she allowed nine hits and runs while striking out nine in seven innings.
GLENWOOD CITY 11, SPRING VALLEY 9
Glenwood City………0 4 0 0 0 3 4 — 11
Spring Valley…………2 0 0 2 0 0 5 — 9
Things seemed to go more smoothly for the Hilltoppers at home against Elmwood May 9.
The team’s second game of the week was a 7-3 win that lifted Glenwood City to 8-4 in the conference.
Glenwood City got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third, and followed up with four more in the fourth to lead the game 7-0 as they headed into the seventh inning.
Elmwood attempted a sixth-inning rally and got three runs in before the Toppers shut them down again in the seventh to take the win.
Natalie Gabbert had another three-for-four batting performance to lead the team’s offense, collecting four RBIs off a pair of doubles, while Brooke Wickman sent in a pair of runners and clocked a double. Maggie Wallin drove in one runner on offense, and struck out seven while allowing three runs on three hits over seven innings pitched to get the victory.
In a game where hits were at a premium, Glenwood City finished with half a dozen.
ELMWOOD 3, GLENWOOD CITY 7
Elmwood……………..0 0 0 0 0 3 0 — 3
Glenwood City………0 0 2 4 1 0 0 — 7
Like many conference teams, the Lady Hilltoppers have been forced to play a late-season double header after seeing uncooperative weather conditions throughout April.
Glenwood City was originally scheduled to play its first contest against Pepin/Alma’s Eagles at home April 20, but the cold, wet conditions forced both schools to postpone the game. The Toppers instead went to Alma May 11 for a two-for-one meeting that saw the team split its 2017 series with the Eagles.
Playing as the home team, the Lady Toppers won their first game handily, 7-0, after putting four runs on the board in the third inning, one in the fourth, and then two more in the sixth.
Glenwood City’s sophomore hurler Maggie Wallin was nearly untouchable, striking out 12, and allowing only one walk and a trio of hits in a complete seven innings of work.
Wallin also provided an offensive punch, going two-of-four at the plate with four RBIs. Senior teammate Brooke Wickman also had a pair of hits including a double and a run scored in four batting attempts.
A sweep of the Eagles, however, was not to be as Pepin/Alma squeezed past the Hilltoppers with an 11-10 win in the second game of the night despite a late rally by the Toppers.
Glenwood City got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the top of the opening inning, but then could not score again until the sixth and seventh innings, when the team scored four runs in each frame.
In between, Pepin/Alma plated four runs in the third to take the lead and added two more in each of the fourth and fifth innings fr a 8-2 advantage.
The Hilltoppers’ offense finally came back online as the locals narrowed the deficit to 8-6 in the top of the sixth inning, only to have the Eagles extend the lead to 11-6 with three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth.
Glenwood City tallied another four runs in the top of the seventh to pull within a single run of Pepin/Alma. But the Eagles were able to register the game’s final out and secure an 11-10 victory before the Toppers could score another run.
The nightcap featured 24 hits with the Toppers picking up 11 of them but Glenwood City’s eight errors proved fatal in the end. The Toppers also struck out ten times.
Wickman, Carlson and Klinger each finished with a pair of hits. Wickman also tallied three RBI while Carlson, who had a double, and Klinger both scored three times. Natalie Gabbert recorded a pair of RBIs, and Wallin and Morgan Peterson each took credit for a single runner sent home. Emily Hill is credited with a double.
Wallin pitched five innings, allowing 12 hits and 11 runs while striking out seven in a losing effort. Peterson took over for the final inning and struck out one batter while allowing a single hit.
PEPIN/ALMA 0, GLENWOOD CITY 7
Pepin/Alma…………….0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0
Glenwood City………..0 0 4 1 0 2 0 — 7
GLENWOOD CITY 10, PEPIN/ALMA 11
Glenwood City………2 0 0 0 0 4 4 — 10
Pepin/Alma…………..0 0 4 2 2 3 0 — 11
The Glenwood City softball team headed north and east to Gilman for a pair of tournament games May 13 and came home later that evening after having lost both.
Gaustad said the 15-1 finish against Medford was only lopsided in the final innings, since the Hilltoppers played decent ball for the first four innings. The coach wanted to get all the kids in and just let them play in the game.
“Their pitcher did a nice job keeping us on our toes,” Gaustad noted. “We struggled hitting her, and when we did they all went right to them.”
Glenwood’s lone run came courtesy of Mariah Voeltz. The junior made it to base on balls before being sent around by singles from Tia Carlson and Morgan Peterson – who took credit for the RBI. Carlson, Peterson and pitcher Maggie Wallin were the only players to log hits in the game.
Medford put up a pair of runs in the first and again in the fourth before breaking the game open with five runs in the fifth. They capped the game with six more in the seventh for the win.
Wallin worked four and one-third innings allowing 6 hits and four runs. Peterson pitched the remaining two and two-thirds for eight hits and 11 runs. Wallin struck out six, and Peterson struck out three.
Gaustad said the Hilltoppers got on the ball again against Chequamegon, but kept hitting the ball right to the Screaming Eagles. That, coupled with mental mistakes, gave the opposing team more opportunities than it earned.
“We need to regroup and focus on this week, with three games and one to finish,” Gaustad said after the game.
The Screaming Eagles tacked up a pair of runs in the first and four in the second to lead the Hilltoppers 6-0 as they headed into the third. Glenwood City held the Chequamegon team in check until the sixth, then the Screaming Eagles earned another run to increase their lead to 7-0.
Wallin had a pair of hits in the game, and Peterson and Voeltz each logged a hit as well. Wallin and Peterson again traded off time in the circle, with the former pitching 11 hits and 7 runs in six innings and the latter pitching one hit and zero runs in one inning.
GLENWOOD CITY 1, MEDFORD 15
Glenwood City…….0 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 1
Medford……………..2 0 0 2 5 0 6 — 15
GLENWOOD CITY 0, CHEQUAMEGON 7
Glenwood City………0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 7
Chequamegon………2 4 0 0 0 1 0 — 7 [/emember_protected]