FORT DODGE - When things start going against you, sometimes there's nothing you can do to stop it, no matter how hard you try.
That what happened to unranked Estherville Lincoln Central against top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton in a 13-4 loss in the first-round of the Class 3A State Softball Tournament on Monday.
The Midgets had the momentum after taking a 3-1 lead on a three-run home run by Caitlyn Clayton in the top of the third inning. ELC would like to forget the bottom of the third inning.
Estherville Lincoln Central players celebrated Caitlyn Clayton’s home run that gave the Midgets a 3-1 lead in the third inning over top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton in a Class 3A State Softball quarterfinal on Monday. But ELC’s joy was short-lived as the Warriors came back with nine runs in the bottom of the inning and went on to win 13-4.
EDN photo by Glen Caron.
The Warriors came back with nine runs on six hits and four ELC errors to retake the lead for good. The Midgets pushed one run across in the top of the fourth inning, but would not get a runner to third the rest of the game.
"It was just a never-ending inning," said ELC coach Megan Anderson. "We had opportunities to get out of it with two outs. It's hard to bounce back from that."
ELC (20-11) falls into the consolation bracket where they will play ninth-ranked Monticello (31-7) at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Monticello lost 8-2 to No. 5 Bondurant-Farrar in Monday's other 3A state quarterfinal. The consolation finals (for fifth and seventh place) will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
Four other 3A teams play their quarterfinal games this morning.
ELC started well against Sergeant Bluff-Luton with runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings.
Emily Kirchner hit a two-out triple in the first inning, but was left stranded. Caitlyn Clayton, Megan Jensen and Rachel Bates all singled to load the bases with no outs in the top of the second. But Sarah Schacherer and Kristen King both went down on strikes and Macy Dahl grounded out to the pitcher as ELC left three runners stranded.
SBL scored first with a run in the bottom of the second as Morgan Skinner hit a triple and scored on a squeeze bunt by Ashtyn Schubert.
ELC came back in the top of the third. Carson Gjerde drew a leadoff walk and Kirchner singled. A sacrifice bunt by Liz Brashear moved the runners. Clayton then drilled the ball over the left-centerfield fence to score ELC's three runs.
"We had 12 hits on the night which was a positive," said coach Anderson. "Caitlyn gave us some good momentum, but we weren't able to capitalize like we should."
But ELC couldn't get the outs in the bottom of the inning. Tayler Moriarty led off by reaching on ELC's first error of the game, but was forced out on the fielder's choice as Marissa Schmidt reached first. Miles Ludwigs followed with a single and Kennedy Colvert drove in another run with a single. Then Ashtin Hazel then came up with a delivered a two-RBI double. She was thrown out trying to steal third. But then ELC's defense committed three errors over the next three batters. Schmidt and Ludwigs both got back to the plate and both came up with two RBI singles also.
In the to of the fourth, Kristen King drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on sacrifices by Macy Dahl and Carson Gjerde. Kirchner came up with an RBI single and a stolen base and Brashear reached on a single. But the inning ended when Clayton grounded out to third.
Ludwigs, who started on the mound for the Warriors, pitched four innings giving up four earned runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Abby Kolar entered in relief in the fifth inning and shut ELC down. She gave up just three hits and no runs to close out the game.
SBL added a run in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to complete the scoring and finished with 14 hits in the contest.
ELC finished with 12 hits with Kirchner going 3-4 with an RBI, Bates went 3-3, Clayton was 2-4 with three RBIs; Megan Jensen was 3-3 and Brashear was 1-3.