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by Marlys Kruger
After the Colfax-Durand softball game was postponed earlier in the season, the two teams faced off in back-to-back games May 9 and 10.
The Vikings hosted the Panthers in the first game and couldn’t get the offense going, losing 3-1, and in the second game they scored seven runs but couldn’t hold the Panthers down and lost 16-7.
Two days later, they hosted the Spring Valley Cardinals and bounced back with a 10-0 win, then finished off the week with an exciting 3-2 win over the Boyceville Bulldogs.
All four games were Dunn-St. Croix Conference games, leaving the Vikings 6-6 in conference play.
Colfax will finished off the regular season with home and away games against Elk Mound on consecutive days, playing at home this past Monday and in Elk Mound on Tuesday. The Vikings, who received a first-round bye and the number 4 seed, will open the WIAA Division 4 softball tournament at home next Tuesday, May 24 against #5 Chetek-Weyerhaeuser.
Durand – Game 1
The Vikings fell behind 3-0 before they scored their only run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ella Peterson smacked a double and Mallory Field laid down a perfect bunt right in front of the plate. The Durand player fired the ball over the first baseman’s head, allowing Peterson to score and Field to scamper all the way to third. The Viking offense fizzled however and Field was stranded.
Both the Vikings and Panthers defenses tightened up along with both pitchers and nobody scored in the final three innings.
Jaida Riley batted 2-for-3 in the contest as the Vikings had just five total hits. McKenna Shipman had the only stolen base for the team. Field hurled all seven innings, giving up six hits with seven strikeouts and did not walk a single Panther.
Durand – Game 2
After the Vikings started off with a bang by scoring three runs in the top of the first, the Panthers came back with one in the bottom of the inning, then the floodgates opened for them in the bottom of the second when they scored ten runs.
Colfax made an effort to come back with a run in the third and three more in the fourth, but Durand kept the pedal to the metal and added on three more in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Ella Peterson had a hot bat once again going 2-for-3 with a trio of RBIs and scored once. Shipman was 2-for-2 and came home twice, Anderson slammed a double, brought in a run and scored twice and Hannah Peterson picked up a hit and came home twice.
Field started in the circle and in four innings gave up 14 runs on 13 hits with five free passes and one K. Alexis Schindler came on in relief and gave up one hit with two runs and three passes.
Spring Valley defeated Colfax earlier in the season 12-10 so the Vikings were eager to get them on the field and try to reverse the score.
After a slow beginning for both teams, Colfax pushed four runs across in the bottom of the third for a 4-0 lead. The inning started when Shipman singled, stole second and Hannah Peterson drew a walk. Anderson slammed a double to bring Shipman in and with two outs and two strikes, Field sent a solid single up the middle to plate Peterson and Anderson. Schindler promptly smacked a triple for an RBI but was stranded there after a bunt attempt led to the third out.
Colfax added four more runs in the fourth and two more for good measure in the sixth while keeping the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
The only hit the Cardinals managed to get off Field was a two out double in the fourth and Field didn’t take too kindly to her no-hitter being broken up as she whiffed the next batter to end any threat.
Shipman, Hannah Peterson, Anderson and Riley all banged out a pair of hits with one of Anderson’s being a home run, and Field picked up four RBIs to help her get the win. She struck out seven Cardinals and issued just one base on balls.
Facing another team that had beaten them earlier in the season, the Bulldogs were coming off a 4-1 loss to Mondovi the previous day. The teams were pretty evenly matched with Colfax sporting a 5-6 conference record and the Bulldogs were 7-4.
The Vikings shot out of the starting gate with two runs in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Anderson reached base on an error by the Bulldog shortstop, and after fouling off several pitches, Ella Peterson drew a walk. Riley hit another shot to the shortstop which was misplayed, resulting in a run and with runners on first and third, Riley moved into scoring position by stealing second. Field sent a hard grounder to the shortstop who muffed it again and the second run of the inning scored. A ground out to third base ended the inning
Boyceville loaded the bases in the top of the second with one out on an infield error, a late throw to second base from third and a perfectly executed bunt. But Field did her part from the circle, forcing back-to-back ground balls to herself which she threw home for the last two outs to get her team out of the jam.
Colfax added to their lead in the third when Ella Peterson slammed a one out triple over the left fielder’s head, then scored on a ground out by Riley. Field picked up a solid single and moved up on a passed ball but a strikeout left her at second.
The Bulldogs had two runners on base in the fourth on a Colfax error and a walk but once again the Viking defense made the plays to get out of the inning.
After Colfax went out in order in their half of the fourth, the Bulldogs made their move in the fifth using a couple of hits, a wild pitch and a passed ball to put two runs up. A ground out to the Colfax third baseman Emma Medin and the throw to Audrey Ebert at first finally got the Vikings off the field.
The Vikings left two runners stranded in the bottom of the inning, and Boyceville had a chance to knot things up in the sixth when a perfect bunt put their lead-off runner on first. In an attempt to get into scoring position by stealing second, Colfax catcher Ella Anderson gunned her down for the first out. A pop up to third was the second out and after Field issued a free pass, there was no attempt to steal this time and a ground out to shortstop Anderson ended another inning.
The Vikings couldn’t get a much needed insurance run as they went down 1-2-3 in the sixth, and the Bulldogs showed they still had some bite left in them. A line drive to left which looked like a solid hit, was perfectly played by Riley for an out but the next batter sent a hard shot up the middle for a hit. A slow roller to third was fielded by Medin who threw to first for the second out, and an intentional walk was issued to the next batter to create a force out at any base. A long fly ball to right-center appeared to be trouble all the way but Schindler flew to the ball for the final out.
“I am so proud of how our team reacted after Boyceville put runners on base,” Colfax coach John Dickinsen said after the close game. “They didn’t panic, our defense made the plays and Mallory pitched her way out of trouble. This has been our biggest improvement from the beginning of the season. We are making less errors, getting the bat on the ball and we have more confidence as the season goes on,” he added.
Colfax was outhit by Boyceville 8-4 but had only one error compared to three by the Bulldogs. Field struck out three batters and walked three for the win. Boyceville left 11 runners on the base paths while the Vikings stranded five.