MARSHALL - Whether she was taking away runs or putting them on the board, Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian senior pitcher Breana VanDyke seemed to be in the middle of all the action during Tuesday's Section 3A softball elimination game against Lakeview.
With two Lakeview runners on base in both the second and third innings, VanDyke tagged out a Laker runner at the plate for the final out of each inning while covering home after throwing a wild pitch. And when she was at the plate with a bat in her hands, the Edgerton/SWC No. 4 hitter also made game-changing plays, belting a three-run home run in the third inning and two-run homer in the fourth to power the Flying Dutchmen to an 8-2 win and put them into Thursday's Section 3A championship against undefeated Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.
Lakeview head coach Tony Johnson said he was trying to have his pitcher, senior Lyndsey Peterson, move the ball around the zone against the Flying Dutchmen batters to keep them off balance. But it didn't matter where Peterson threw the ball to VanDyke on her two deep drives.
Photo by Matt Dahlseid
Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian pitcher Breana VanDyke (99) rolls over Lakeview’s Caitlin Louwagie after tagging Louwagie out at home after Louwagie tried to score on a wild pitch in the third inning of a Section 3A softball game played Tuesday at the Marshall Softball Complex. Lakeview’s Lyndsey Peterson, right, looks on.
"We threw one ball right up at VanDyke's eyes and she put it over the center field fence, so I said, 'We better not do that again,'" Johnson said. "So then we throw it six or seven inches off the outside corner and she knocks that over the fence again."
It was that kind of day for the Lakers, who advanced further than any Lakeview team in the program's history and finished with a 14-8 record, doubling the win total of their next best season. They couldn't come up with the key hits with runners on base like they did against Murray County Central, Wabasso and Dawson-Boyd earlier in the tournament. And Peterson, who had given up just four runs over the previous three games, ran up against a Flying Dutchmen offense that wouldn't be denied.
Sarah Berg, one of three seniors on the Lakeview roster along with Peterson and Angela Timm, said the Lakers would have liked another shot against KMS after pushing the Fighting Saints to the limit in a 1-0 loss on Saturday that dropped Lakeview into the losers' bracket. They won't get that chance, but Berg said her senior season is no less special.
"I just love my teammates," said Berg, who went 2-for-2 with a solo home run and a walk. "We're all so close and we're all really tight and we all just worked really hard this season. We got up our batting averages and we didn't let anything get us down.
"It was really fun to see all my teammates and the program grow over the past four years I've been here. It's a sad way to end it, but we're proud we made it this far."
VanDyke will get to see her senior season continue as she looks to help the Flying Dutchmen improve on their 19-4 record. She was at the top of her game in the circle on Tuesday, striking out 10 batters and giving up just four hits. Lakeview's only two runs came from solo homers from Berg and Peterson.
The Lakers' best chances to tack a string of runs on the board came in the second and third innings.
Berg and Rachel Kurtenbach led off the second with back-to-back singles before a Edgerton/SWC left fielder Ciara Everett made a tough leaping grab on a well-hit ball from Timm. That was followed with a strikeout, and then Berg was tagged out at the plate by VanDyke while trying to score from third on a wild pitch, ending the threat.
The next inning, Lakeview's Caitlin Louwagie and Emily Streich were on second and third with one out. VanDyke struck out the next batter before throwing another wild pitch, but she covered home and tagged Louwagie out at the plate to close the inning with another play at the plate.
"We just couldn't get a decent jump off the base," Johnson said. "Our leads were so short and they got a couple nice hops off the back stop. The catcher made a couple of real nice throws to the plate to their pitcher and she got the tags down real quick."
Edgerton/SWC had four players with multi-hit games Tuesday. Sarah Post went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, while Tanner Gunnink and Everett each joined VanDyke with two hits.
The Flying Dutchmen will play KMS at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Marshall Softball Complex, needing to beat the unbeaten Fighting Saints twice to advance to the Class A state tournament.
No team has gotten as close to beating KMS as Lakeview did this season. Saturday's 1-0 loss had the Lakers believing that they could play with the Fighting Saints had they been able to advance past Edgerton/SWC. A spot in the 3A championship wasn't in the cards for the Lakers this season, but Johnson said what his players accomplished is something they should be proud of.
"It would have been nice to get into the section championship, but I guess it wasn't meant to be," Johnson said. "Going into the year, I don't think too many teams gave us much of a chance. We really stepped it up in the second half of the year and we really made teams take notice."
E/SWC003 500 0-8 11 1
Lakeview000 101 0-2 4 3
E/SWC-Breana VanDyke. LV-Lyndsey Peterson. WP-VanDyke. LP-Peterson. HR: E/SWC-VanDyke; LV-Peterson, Sarah Berg. 2B: E/SWC-Sarah Post, Tanner Gunnink, Tara DeKam.