COTTONWOOD - One inning can make or break a game, as the Murray County Central Rebel softball team found out during the Section 3A tournament Tuesday in Cottonwood.
MCC came out of the gate on fire, putting up four runs in the first inning en route to winning a 7-1 elimination game against Wabasso before falling 6-5 against Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian the following game.
"Anytime you play Wabasso in the playoffs, they have that Rabbit magic," MCC James Wajer said. "So it's important for us to come out early."
Photo by Jenny Kirk
With no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Murray County Central catcher Kenda Blomgren, left, snags a pop up as pitcher Kristi Bose stands by to make sure the ball is caught against Wabasso during an elimination game at the Class 2A Softball Section 3 Tournament on Tuesday in Cottonwood.
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Wabasso shortstop Morgan Frank makes a catch in the Section 3A Tournament on Tuesday in Cottonwood.
Jade Giese led off the rally by drawing a walk. After Angela Dahlgren reached on an error, Kenda Blomgren loaded up the bases with a single. Winning pitcher Kristi Bose then blasted a two-RBI single through the infield to put the Rebels on the scoreboard. Abbey Lee drove in two more runs after reaching on another Rabbit error.
"I feel like when we get our first person on-base, that really gets us going," Giese said. "I'm feeling confident at the plate. I just have to not think too much and kiss the ball. Keep it simple stupid."
MCC added a fifth run in the top of the second. Brooklynn Miller led off the inning with a walk and scored a run after Giese's single and Dahlgren's sacrifice fly.
"When we get confidence under us, we're relaxed as a team," Giese said. "We're a close team, so we want to keep going far. Making it to state is our ultimate goal, so we're going to play until we get there."
Wabasso's Shelby Taylor led off the third inning with a triple to right field. Taylor plated the Rabbit's lone run on a sacrifice bunt from Jennie Wotschke on the next play. Taylor finished the game batting 3-for-3.
"I was feeling the bat hit the ball, so that's always good," Taylor said. "
Wabasso started a rally in the bottom of the fifth, loading up the bases on a walk, a single by Taylor and a hit-by-pitch taken by Becky Franta. Alison Benz nearly clipped the left-field line, which would have scored two runners, but the ball landed two feet out of bounds. The Rabbits ended up stranding all three runners on base.
"Mentally, we got down on ourselves," Taylor said. "We're usually pretty good at picking ourselves up, but (Tuesday) just wasn't our day. We didn't get the bats going like we wanted to right away. It is what it is, but it hurts."
The Rebels added some insurance, collecting two more runs in the the top of the seventh. Lissa Carlson reached base on an error, followed by a base hit from McKenna Schreier and a walk from Miller. Giese then came up with a clutch hit, pounding the ball to left-center and recording to RBIs to give MCC a 7-1 advantage.
"We scored fours runs off two errors in the first and jumped up on them five runs," Wajer said. "Then Giese got that clutch hit in the seventh. That's what we expect those veteran players to do.
While Giese is only a junior, MCC also looks to seven seniors to lead the way on the field. Some of those players stepped up in a big way after Wabasso loaded up the bases in the bottom of the seventh.
Jennifer Rohlik and Taylor singled to lead-off the seventh for the Rabbits. Jennie Wotschke then reached on an MCC error to load the bases.
From the catcher position, Blomgren came up with a big catch for MCC, recording the first out of the seventh inning. Wabasso's Benz then drove a shot out to right field, which was caught by Giese. Forgetting to tag up, Rohlik was then tagged out at third base, closing out the game. The Rabbits conclude the season with a 10-6 record.
"I'm pretty disappointed, actually," Taylor said. "It was a good season. I have great teammates and coaches. I just wish we could have gotten a little farther. It just wasn't our day. But like our coach (Tiffany Eichten) said, 'the sun will still shine tomorrow.'"
Bose picked up the win in the circle, striking out three, walking two and giving up one run.
MCC advanced to take on the Flying Dutchmen, jumping out to take a 5-2 lead after three innings. But then the bats went cold for the Rebels, who collected 11 hits in the matchup.
"Our bats went dead from the fourth inning on," Wajer said. "(Edgerton/SWC pitcher) Tianna Top only allowed three hits over the final four innings. And we had some bounces go our way and they had some go their way. We just didn't make quite as many plays as they did."
The Flying Dutchmen ripped out four runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-5 lead and the eventual win. The Rebels ended up stranding nine runners on base.
"You have to give Edgerton/SWC credit," Wajer said. "We got a lot of hits, but just not timely hits."
Lee finished the game batting 3-for-4, while Dahlgren was 2-for-4 and Schmitz was 2-for-3. Schreier, Giese, Blomgren and Carlson each added a hit apiece. Bose earned five strikeout and gave up one walk in the loss.
Wabasso finished the season with a 10-6 record.
The Flying Dutchmen will take on undefeated KMS on Thursday.
HITTING: MCC (Jade Giese 2-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 run; Kenda Blomgren 1-for-3; Kristi Bose 1-for-4, 2 RBI; Abbey Lee 1-for-4; McKenna Schreier 1-for-4) Wabasso (Shelby Taylor 3-for-3, triple, 1 run; Morgan Frank 1-for-2; Jennifer Rohlik 1-for-2)
PITCHING (IP-H-R-E-BB-SO): MCC (Kristi Bose 7-5-1-1-2-3) Wabasso (Callie Rohlik 7-6-7-4-8-8).
HITTING: Edgerton/SWC (Jordyn Smidt 1-for-2, 3 RBI, 1 run; Hope Veldkamp 1-for-3, RBI, 1 run; Savanah Tinklenberg 1-for-3, double; Jenny Nelson 1-for-4, RBI; Tianna Top 1-for-4; Kameron Kroh 1-for-3, 1 run) MCC (Abbey Lee 3-for-4, 1 run; Angela Dahlgren 2-for-4, 1 run; Mckenzie Schmitz 2-for-3; McKenna Schreier 1-for-4, RBI; Jade Giese 1-for-4, 2 runs; Kenda Blomgren 1-for-4; Lissa Carlson 1-for-4).
PITCHING (IP-H-R-E-BB-SO): Edgerton/SWC (Tianna Top 7-11-5-3-0-7) MCC (Kristi Bose 7-6-6-4-1-5).