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By Amber Hayden
Elk Mound’s dream of a Dunn-St. Croix softball championship was dashed when it was upset in Pepin last Monday, May 13 by the high-flying Eagles of Pepin/Alma, last year’s conference champs.
It was a heartbreaking 5-1 loss to Pepin/Alma for Elk Mound, who was looking to gain at least a share of the 2019 conference title. Instead, that honor went to Glenwood City after its 12-2 victory over Boyceville that same day helped the Hilltoppers to secure the outright conference championship – the school’s first ever girls’ softball title.
Following the setback, the Mounders had to pull themselves together quickly as they traveled south again the next day to finish out the conference and regular season with a game in Arkansaw against Durand. The Mounders showed their mettle in the Tuesday, May 14 contest as they beat the Panthers 13-3 in six innings to finish as the D-SC runner-up with a 14-2 mark for the second consecutive season.
Overall, Elk Mound enters the WIAA Division 3 tournament with a sterling 18-4 record. With a first-round bye, the top-seeded Mounders hosted #9 Stratford, a 5-3 winner over Osseo-Fairchild in last Thursday’s regional opener, in a semifinal contest played this past Monday, May 20. A Mounder win would propel them to the regional championship game which would be played at home on Thursday. Another victory there would put the Mounders in the sectional semifinal game to be held on Tuesday, May 28.
It was a series of unfortunate events for the Mounders as they took a loss in Pepin to Pepin/Alma and watched the chance to share the conference championship fly away in the 5-1 loss to the Eagles.
“Pepin had 0 earned runs, so ultimately take away the errors and it would have been a 1-0 ball game and we go home with a victory,” said coach McKayla Brunner.
But three errors helped the Eagles plate five unearned runs to beat the Mounders in the Monday, May 13 contest.
Elk Mound scored its only run in the top of the third to take a 1-0 lead. But it didn’t last.
Pepin/Alma, the defending conference champ, scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning. The Eagles, who tallied seven hits, then found ways to push three more runs across home plate including one in the fourth and the final two in the fifth.
Clare Hallum started the game in the pitching circle and lasted three innings giving up just four hits and two walks. McKenna Diermeier came in to relieve the senior and pitched three innings with two hits and five walks given up.
Neither pitcher was able to get some offensive support as the Mounders finished with just four hits in the game with Diermeier, Hailey Blaskowski and Hannah Larson each getting a single and Abby Curry a double.
Diermeier scored the only run for the Mounders in the third inning. She was able to steal second and was brought home when Sophie Cedarblade was up to bat.
“We struggled offensively,” Brunner explained. “Playing from behind is not our strong suit. It’s a great learning experience and we’ll bounce back.”
ELK MOUND 1, PEPIN/ALMA 5
Elk Mound.….….….……0 0 1 0 0 0 0 – 1
Pepin/Alma.….….….…..0 0 2 1 2 0 X – 5
Elk Mound (1) AB-H-R: McKenna Diermeier 3-1-1, Sophie Cedarblade 3-0-0, Hailey Blaskowski 3-1-0, Clare Hallum 2-0-0, Abby Curry 3-1-0, Issie Hollister 3-0-0, Hannah Larson 2-1-0, Kallee Rhude 3-0-0, Orianna Horel 3-0-0. Total 25-4-1.
Pepin/Alma (5) AB-H-R: Katrina Dangzinger 1-0-0, Maci Luff 3-1-0, Kylie Brunner 3-1-0, Emma Brecka 2-1-1, Alyssa Kosidowski 4-1-1, Addison Olson 4-2-0, Hailey Johnson 3-1-1, Julia Rud 3-1-0, Erin Seifert 2-0-0. Total 25-6-5.
Pitching: Elk Mound — Clare Hallum 3 IP, 4 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 2 R (0 earned), McKenna Diermeier 3 IP, 2 H, 1 K, 5 BB, 3 R (0 earned); Pepin/Alma — Erin Seifert 7 IP, 4 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 R (1 earned).
It didn’t take long for Elk Mound to recover from their loss to the Eagles as they played the Panthers on May 14 and took a commanding victory 13-3.
Elk Mound banged out 15 hits and capitalized on nine Durand errors to earn the 10-run win in six innings.
Hailey Blaskowski had a monster game at the plate to lead the Mounders. Blaskowski went a perfect 3-for-3 batting including a pair of home runs and finished with four RBIs and four runs scored. She was also walked twice.
Issie Hollister also had three hits in four at bats for Elk Mound and tallied three RBIs. Sophie Cedarblade finished with four hits in her five at bats and McKenna Diermeier had two hits.
Pitching for five innings for Elk Mound was Clare Hallum who gave up three unearned runs to the Panthers while striking out one and walking two for the win. Issie Hollister had an inning of hitless and scoreless ball with three straight strike outs.
Diermeier, Hallum and Cedarblade each scored a pair of runs for the Mounders.
ELK MOUND 13, DURAND 3
Elk Mound.….….….…5 3 2 0 1 2 – 13
Durand….….….…..…..0 0 0 3 0 0 – 3
Elk Mound (13) AB-H-R: McKenna Diermeier 5-2-2, Sophie Cedarblade 5-4-2, Hailey Blaskowski 3-3-3-4, Clare Hallum 3-0-2, Abby Curry 3-0-1, Issie Hollister 4-3-0, Kayli Solberg 0-0-1, Morgan Radtke 4-1-1, Hannah Larson 4-1-0, Orianna Horel 3-1-0. Total 34-15-13.
Durand (3) AB-H-R: Hannah Prissel 3-0-0, Leah Sabelko 3-0-0, Madisyn Kilboten 2-1-1, Josie Radle 2-0-1, Jacie Kitchner 1-0-0, Addison Weiss 1-0-0, Nataya Hurlburt 2-1-0, Katelyn Schlosser 3-0-0, Kaitlyn Anibas 2-1-1, Shelby Trotterchaud 1-0-0. Total 23-4-3.
Pitching: Elk Mound — Clare Hallum 7 IP, 3 H, 8 K, 3 BB, 0 R; Durand — Josie Radle 6 IP, 6 H, 0 K, 3 BB, 4 R (2 earned).