Prep softball: Dutchmen double down to reach state
COTTONWOOD — The Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian Flying Dutchmen girls’ softball team set out to do something that no one else had been able to do all year, defeat an undefeated Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg team that had sent E/SWC into the losers’ bracket earlier in the tournament by a score of 9-2.
Taking down K-M-S — which was a perfect 20-0 entering play Thursday — would be difficult enough. But in order for the Flying Dutchmen to advance to the Class A state tournament they would have to defeat the Fighting Saints twice.
“We just had to put 14 innings together and believe in ourselves. We are as good as anyone when we play our game and play hard,” said E/SWC coach Andrew Fleischman when asked about what his team’s mindset was.
And believe in themselves they did, as the Flying Dutchmen knocked off the previously undefeated Fighting Saints by scores of 4-0 and 7-3 to advance to the state tournament.
In the winner-take-all game two, it was Tianna Top for E/SWC squaring off on the rubber with Alison Krieger of K-M-S.
“It all starts with Tianna, she made them work and she didn’t hurt herself. We made the plays behind her and hit the ball well,” Fleischman said.
Hope Veldkamp drilled a leadoff triple for E/SWC and an RBI double from Jenny Nelson put the Flying Dutchmen on the board early for the second time on the evening. Top helped herself out by driving in Nelson and took a two-run lead into the bottom half of the first.
The Fighting Saints started to make some noise with their bats as Samantha Gjerde leadoff with a double. Sadie Sulier followed up with an RBI single to bring in Gjerde. Shelly Syveron hit an RBI double with two outs to tie the game.
Veldkamp’s RBI double in the second inning gave E/SWC the lead back and a two-out RBI single off the bat scored Kameron Kroh to give E/SWC a two-run lead.
K-M-S got one back in the bottom of the third when Andrea Olson was hit by pitch with the bases loaded.
K-M-S had a chance to tie the game in the fourth when Alexis Lamecker tried to score from second off of a single to left by Gjerde, but Nelson fired a bullet to the plate to gun down Lamecker.
Kroh scored her third run of the game after leading off the fifth with a triple and was driven in Courtney Jouwstra.
Little by little, the Flying Dutchmen kept widening that gap as they scored a run in six of the seven innings.
Savanah Tinklenberg started off the sixth with an infield single and came around to score on an RBI single by Tanner Gunnink.
Tinklenberg then drove in Veldkamp (3-for-5) in the seventh to make the score 7-3.
The Fighting Saints managed to put runners at the corners in a last-ditch effort to start a rally, but Syverson’s groundout to short sealed the deal and sent E/SWC to the class A state tournament.
Krieger took the loss again after going three innings and allowing four runs.
E/SWC started the first game off with a bang as Nelson crushed a two-out solo shot to left field to put the Flying Dutchmen up.
That turned out to be all that E/SWC needed in the first game as Top pitched a gem. She went all seven, allowing no runs on only four hits. She struck out four and walked two.
“I mixed up between my fastball, dropball, and changeup, just tried to keep the hitters off balance,” Top said.
The Flying Dutchmen tacked on three more in the top of the seventh. Breanna Nelson led off the inning with a single, and then Jordyn Smidt reached on an error. An RBI infield single by Jouwstra drove in Nelson. Hope Veldkamp then smashed a two-RBI double to put E/SWC up by four and to take some pressure off of Top.
Top struck out MiKaylie Hagen and handed K-M-S its first loss of the season.
Krieger took to loss for the Fighting Saints. Krieger went four innings, allowing one run on five hits and struck out three.
R H E
E/SWC 100 000 3 — 4 9 0
K-M-S 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
R H E
E/SWC 211 011 1 —7 14 3
K-M-S 201 000 0 — 3 10 2