Section 3A softball: E/SWC goes two games to subdue LQPV for state berth
MARSHALL -- When they simply, positively HAD to win, the Edgerton/Southwest Christian Flying Dutchmen took total control Thursday night in the Section 3A softball championship. Losing 1-0 in their first title showdown with Lac qui Parle Valley in...
MARSHALL -- When they simply, positively HAD to win, the Edgerton/Southwest Christian Flying Dutchmen took total control Thursday night in the Section 3A softball championship.
Losing 1-0 in their first title showdown with Lac qui Parle Valley in Marshall, the Dutchmen were forced to play one more game -- for all the marbles. E/SWC’s bats were silent against LQPV pitcher Haley Wollschlager in the first game, but they came alive quickly in the rematch.
In the bottom of the first inning of game two, E/SWC plated four runs against Wollschlager, then added another in the second inning and four more in the fifth. The result was a one-sided 9-0 victory and a sixth straight state Class A tournament berth.
This will be the fourth year of state tournament competition for second baseman Liz Prins, whose aggressive hitting and superb defense set the tone in the do-or-die contest.
“Every time, I think I’m just as excited (about going to state),” she said.
E/SWC pitcher Sierra Van Dyke was excellent throughout the day, hurling 14 innings without allowing an earned run. Lac qui Parle Valley’s only score in the first game occurred in the second inning when leadoff batter Cassidie Olson reached second base on a fly ball to the outfield that was dropped. After moving to third on another hit, she scored on a bunt by Rylee Lund.
LQPV had just three hits off the Flying Dutchman pitcher in the first game, and gathered just five in the second game.
“We were just jacked (in game two). We were ready to get out of here and go to state,” Van Dyke said, adding that she wasn’t sorry at all that the second matchup became a rout.
“That’s how it was supposed to be in the first game. It just didn’t happen like that,” she remarked.
Actually, the first game might have ended differently. In the bottom of the seventh inning, E/SWC’s Hannah Nerem led off with a deep fly ball to right-center field that fell to the grass. Nerem played it aggressively, getting all the way to third base. But Wollschlager got the next three hitters out and the run didn’t score. Game over.
Prins said her head coach, Andrew Fleischman, told his players to lay off Wollschlager’s rise balls in the second game -- they’d swung at too many pitches shoulder-high. The Dutch followed their coach’s advice, and the rest is history.
“We got some balls that were down in the zone and we weren’t swinging at the high pitch,” Prins said.
In the first inning of game two, leadoff hitter Jessa Nibbelink reached on one of her patented drag bunts, stole second base and went to third on a passed ball. Prins drove her home with a double. Jazzy Prins singled and stole second, and cleanup hitter Gabby Buckridge hit a soft single past second base to score a second run. Moments later, Jazzy Prins was caught in a rundown between third and home, but she was able to score when the Eagles botched the play. Two batters later, the second Eagles error of the inning led to a fourth run.
Nibbelink reached on another drag bunt in the second and later scored on another LQPV error. Hits from Van Dyke and Mariah Zeinstra highlighted E/SWC’s four-run fifth.
After being forced to play a second game, Fleischman gathered his kids for a short meeting.
“The thing that I told ‘em between games is that it’s a halftime -- a tie. And we just had to keep grinding the bats out,” he said.
And they did. And now the Flying Dutchmen are going to state for a sixth consecutive year.
“It’s just so fun. The thing that makes it great, these girls work so hard in the offseason. And they go to work in practice every day. … It’s just so much fun, you just want everyone to have this experience,” he said.
LQPV 010 000 0 -- 1 3 1
E/SWC 000 000 0 -- 0 4 1
LQPV 000 000 0 -- 0 5 4
E/SWC 410 040 x -- 9 10 1