BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Delano defeated Rockford 4-1 and Mound-Westonka 7-6 to capture the 5AA sub-section softball tournament last week.
The section finals were set for May 29 and 31 at Watertown-Mayer.
"Rockford and Delano have quite a history of great games in the playoffs and this game was no different," said Rocket coach Dawn Engebretson. "It was tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the sixth when Delano hit a 3-run home run."
Delano scored first in the bottom of the fourth inning on a single by Katie Emmer. Rockford answered right back with a run in the fifth when Emily Koenen, who had singled, scored on a throwing error. She was moved along on the based by a sacrifice bunt by Brooke Dormanen.
"After giving up three runs in the sixth, we got a runner on in the seventh, but just couldn’t do anything with it," adds Engebretson. "I am so proud of how well the team played this game. Our season ended a little earlier than we would have liked it to, but we fought to the end as we have all season. I think we used up all our "seventh-inning magic."
Brianna Calder led Rockford by going 3 for 4. Dormanen, Ashley Dick, Lexi Majeski and Koenen each had one hit. Majeski pitched, allowing seven hits with no walks.
Anna Wischmann and Katie Vatnsdal singled to lead off the bottom of sixth for the Tigers, setting up the big 3-run homer by Emmer.
Vatnsdal was 3 for 3 with a double and Emmer drove in all four runs, going 2 for 3. Ashley Lewis and Wischmann had the other hits. Vatnsdal pitched the first five innings, giving up six hits. Makenna Giese allowed one hit in two innings of relief pitching.
Delano moved on to face conference foe Mound-Westonka in the sub-section final. Lewis got the ball rolling for Delano when her single drove in the first run in the first inning.
Mound-Westonka scored four times in the top of the third and added two more in the fifth. With one out in the last of the sixth Tiger bats came alive.
Emmer doubled off the fence, Noetzelman provided a bunt single and Wischmann reached on an error to load the bases. Christy Jordan hit the ball to second base, but the throw home was late and a run scored. Kirsten Palan doubled to score two runs. Savanah Bettin’s hit scored two more and Vatnsdal singled in the winning run.
"The girls gave everything they had to get the win," said coach Theresa Spurzem. "I am very proud of the girls. It was a great team effort as we headed into the section finals."
Against Mound-Westonka, Vatnsdal batted 2 for 4, Noetzelman 2 for 3 and Bettin was 2 for 2. The other hits were by Lewis, Emmer, Jordan and Palan.
Giese started on the mound, giving up eight hits and five earned runs in five innings. Vatnsdal pitched the final two frames, yielding one hit.
The Tigers played Becker in the section finals Tuesday after this issue went to press. The loser was to play either Mound-Westonka or Annandale in the second game. The section title game is 5 p.m. Thursday, May 31 at Watertown-Mayer with the "if" game to follow.
The first round of the State Class AA tournament is 1 p.m. Thursday, June 7 in North Mankato against the Section 7AA champion.