COTTONWOOD - Edgerton/Southwest Christian needed something good to happen to get back on track.
After BOLD won the first game of Thursday’s Section 3A softball final 9-7, the Warriors had runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the first with one of their best hitters at the plate in a winner-take-all matchup.
She hit a hard ground ball to E/SWC’s Jasmine Jensen, who froze the runner and third and made the out at first. Pitcher Liz Buckridge struck out the next batter and outfielder Emily Nerem made a great catch to get through the first inning unscathed.
“That lit a fire and gave us momentum back on our side,” E/SWC head coach Andrew Fleischman said. “Those were two really big plays defensively that got us going. We needed something good to happen and when something good happened, we really seized the moment.”
The Flying Dutchmen answered with four runs in the bottom of the first en route to an 11-1 victory and their third consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“It’s very, very exciting for our program and the girls,” Fleischman said. “They have worked very, very hard. We feel like they are a team that’s really grown and improved as the year has gone on. We’ve had a lot of moving pieces and we have a lot of young girls who have had roles changed. The girls have continued to get better and that really makes it exciting that we peaked at the right time.”
E/SWC had a 4-1 lead in the first inning of the first game, but BOLD scored three in the third and five in the fifth and held on for the victory.
“What we told them after the game was on that first day of practice, if someone would have told you that you have one game to go to state, you would have taken it,” Fleischman said. “We wanted to be excited about the opportunity. Instead of looking at it like it was more pressure, we wanted to look at it like it was an awesome opportunity.”
Morgan Flann earned the victory, allowing seven runs on 12 hits while walking four and striking out four. Elsa Skeie was 4 for 5 with a home run and four RBI for the Warriors in the first game, while Taylor Sagedahl was 3 for 5 with three runs scored.
Six different players had two hits for the Dutchmen. Jenny Nelson was 2 for 4 with two RBI, while Chyna Berning was 2 for 4 with two RBI. Courtney Jouwstra, Nerem and Kailyn Jasper each had two hits and drove in a run.
In the state-clinching nightcap, it was all E/SWC. The Dutchmen scored four in the first, five in the fourth and two in the fifth for the 10-run victory in five innings over the state’s sixth-ranked team.
Buckridge earned the victory, allowing one unearned run while walking one and striking out two in five innings.
Jasper had two hits, including a three-run double in the fourth inning. Nelson had two hits and drove in two, while Jaidyn Henstra had two hits. Jouwstra finished with two hits, including a two-run double in the fourth. Hope Veldkamp had a walk-off RBI single in the fifth.
E/SWC (17-7) will be at the state tournament at Caswell Park in Mankato. Its first-round game will be at 1 p.m. Thursday. The Dutchmen will play the Section 5 winner, Pine River-Backus, which defeated North Sebeka twice Thursday to qualify for state.
R H E
BOLD 103 500 0 - 9 14 1
E/SWC 402 010 0 - 7 12 5
R H E
BOLD 010 00 - 1 5 1
E/SWC 400 52 - 11 9 3