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by Marlys Kruger
After earning a first-round bye in the WIAA Division 4 regional softball tournament, the Colfax Vikings, a number four seed, hosted the number five seed Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Bulldogs May 24. In a tightly contested game, the Vikings came out on top 3-0, but three days later they traveled to Fall Creek to take on the number one seed Crickets and ended their season with a 9-4 loss.
Colfax finished the season with an 8-9 record and were one of three teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference to play in a regional final. Mondovi, a D-SC conference co-champion and Elmwood-Plum City both lost in their respective regional final games.
When opportunity strikes, you need to take advantage of it and the Vikings did just that in the first inning of play.
With two outs, Jada Anderson reached base on a Bulldog error then stole second base. Ella Peterson also reached on a Bulldog miscue which allowed Anderson to score, and a solid hit from Mallory Field brought Peterson home for a 2-0 lead
Field was in total control from the circle, allowing just two hits and one free pass for all seven innings. The Vikings tacked on an insurance run in the fifth when Alexis Schindler beat out a well executed bunt to lead things off. McKenna Shipman attempted to lay down another bunt but failed in two attempts. Things worked out just fine as she slammed an RBI double to the outfield bringing Schindler in. Colfax left a pair of runners on the base paths after Hannah Peterson singled up the middle and the next three Vikings went out without getting the ball out of the infield.
Field put the Bulldogs down in order in the sixth, and in the seventh, she started things out with a huge strikeout. A ground out to shortstop Anderson who could be nick-named Ms. Reliable went for the second out. Outfielder Peterson, who just a day earlier helped the Colfax 4x800m relay team qualify for the sectional meet, used that speed to chase down a deep fly ball for the final out.
The Vikings had just five hits in the contest but played error-less ball behind Field who whiffed nine Bulldog batters.
Field again took her place in the circle for the whole game (which was delayed a day due to poor field conditions in Fall Creek) and gave up just six hits while striking out one Cricket batter, but issued six free passes and her defense struggled with four errors to seal the Vikings fate.
Fall Creek went up 2-0 after an inning of play but, the Vikings came back with a run in the top of the second. The Crickets added a pair of runs in their half of the second for a 5-1 advantage, but the Vikings responded yet again with two runs in the third to get closer at 5-3.
Fall Creek kept pecking away however, adding two runs in the bottom of the third, and single runs in the fourth and fifth for a 9-3 lead.
Colfax picked up a final run in the seventh but that’s all they could manage to add on and the game ended.
Emma Medin picked up two of the Colfax five hits which included a double and brought in a run while scoring once. Shipman added a hit and scored once, Anderson smacked a hit and picked up an RBI with a run scored, Jaida Riley brought a runner home and Ella Peterson came up with a hit, a run scored and a stolen base.
“I am very proud of this group of girls,” Colfax coach John Dickinsen said. “We battled a very tough Fall Creek team and never gave up. When there were some things that didn’t go well, the girls buckled down and got out of those innings defensively,” he added.
The future looks bright for the Lady Vikings with nary a senior on the team.
“As a young team in which we started three freshmen, four sophomores and three juniors, we improved tremendously over the year,” Dickinsen commented. “This group was very coachable and played the game hard. I am excited about returning everyone to this team next year and continuing the steps we’ve made as a program over the last couple of years,” he concluded.