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Laker softball excels in playoffs...again

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Laker softball excels in playoffs...again
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Once again, the Detroit Lakes softball team is saving its best for last.

It worked during the 2008 high school spring season, where the Lakers delved deep into the Section 8-2A playoffs, earning a berth in the championship game as the No. 5 seed, before finishing as runner-up.

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That way of playing was repeated for the summer playoffs, where DL once again put a little shock in a couple of high seeds on their way to a tournament championship.

This time, the Lakers knocked off a pair of undefeated teams on their way to the Minnesota State Playoffs -- which are Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27, in Mound.

"We've played 49-50 games (from high school and summer combined) and the girls have been in the situations to win the tough games," said DL head coach Phil Kirchner.

They needed that experience throughout the playoffs, which were held Monday and Tuesday in Hawley.

DL won all three of its games by one run, with all coming from walk-off hits in the bottom of the final innings.

The Lakers also had the consistent Callea Butz providing solid pitching again, as she allowed just seven hits in the Lakers' four games.

The game in which the Lakers punched their state ticket came in a shocker over No. 1 seed and undefeated Hawley Tuesday.

The Nuggets have relied on a potent offense, along with some great pitching from ninth grade phenom Jessy Noreen.

Hawley earlier defeated the Lakers 6-4 in round two of the playoffs, but with DL finding nine hits off the Nuggets' ace.

In the title tilt, it was the Laker's ace -- Butz -- who owned the mound, throwing a one-hitter to help cuff the Nuggets' bats.

DL used a rally in the bottom of the seventh to capture the playoff championship, keyed by a hot hitter and an exciting play at the plate to pull the Lakers from the grave to the top by erasing a 2-1 deficit.

Jennifer Wenner sparked the rally with a lead-off walk, which was immediately followed by an RBI game-tying double by Dana Dugger -- who also had a game-winning walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning in the opening round against Norman County East.

A rare error on the Hawley defense allowed Dugger third and Ashley Baer first, bringing up hard-hitting Amalea Branden with no outs.

Branden delivered, railing a high pop-fly to centerfield. But the dramatics were not done: The throw from the center fielder was on target, as Dugger made a game-winning slide into homeplate for the DL victory.

"Our seniors from this year really have stepped up this summer," Kirchner said. "They've really improved over the course of the last few months."

Not to be overshadowed, Butz held Hawley to one hit, with both Hawley's runs resulting from DL's two errors. She also had five walks and six strikeouts.

But the intense ending to the tournament was more than fitting for the Lakers, who also knocked off undefeated Moorhead in the semifinals 4-3 -- on yes, another walkoff single.

This time it was off the bat of Jessica Pudwill in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Spuds, with the game tied 3-3 and two outs.

Courtney Goettel kept DL alive in the frame by lacing a two-out single and stealing second. Lead-off hitter Shayna Dugger followed with a walk.

Pudwill, who went 2-4 on the game, was on target, taking a single for herself and scoring Goettel for the win.

"Jessica (Pudwill) batted very well in the tournament (7-13)," Kirchner said. "And the girls came out in the clutch, with the winning run produced on two outs."

Catcher Brittni Larson also proved to be a game-saver, picking off two Spud runners at third base in each of the third and sixth innings.

Butz was her usual strong self, allowing just three hits and striking out nine.

Wenner and Pudwill each had two hits and an RBI in the game.

Round two saw Hawley use a four-run fourth inning to salt away a 6-4 win. DL was plagued by two errors in the inning, while having an effective offense with nine hits off of Noreen.

Pudwill went 3-3, while Wenner was 2-3 in the loss. Baer racked up two RBIs in the sixth on a single, to put DL up 4-2.

Butz allowed six hits, walked three and struck out five.

DL needed an extra-inning game-winning RBI single by Dana Dugger against Norman County East to start the playoffs, with a pitchers' duel highlighting most of the game.

NCE had four hits off of Butz and even took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth, before the Lakers tied it up in the bottom of the sixth on a Larson RBI double to score Shayna Dugger, who reached on an error.

In the eighth, Pudwill led off with a single, took second on a Larson sacrifice bunt and scored the winning run on Dana Dugger's solid liner to left field.

"That bunt by Larson was huge -- you don't usually bunt your No. 3 hitter, but she did what she was told and executed," Kirchner said.

DL will now prepare for the state tournament, which will be a good book end for the senior-dominated team.

Laker stats

Summer softball playoffs, Monday-Tuesday, July 7-8, at Hawley.

Round 1

NCE 100 010 00 - 2 4 2

Lakers 010 001 01 - 3 6 1

Detroit Lakes

AB R H Bi

S. Dugger 3 1 0 0

J. Pudwill 3 1 1 0

B. Larson 3 0 1 1

J. Wenner 2 0 0 0

D. Dugger 4 1 2 1

A. Boen 3 0 2 0

Am. Branden 3 0 1 1

J. Anderson 3 0 0 0

J. Even 2 0 0 0

C. Goettel 1 0 0 0

Totals 27 3 7 3

2B: Larson.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - C. Butz (WP) 8-4-2-2-3-10.

Round 2

Lakers 100 003 0 - 4 9 3

Hawley 000 402 x - 6 4 0

Detroit Lakes

AB R H Bi

S. Dugger 4 1 1 0

Pudwill 3 1 3 0

Larson 4 1 1 0

Wenner 3 0 2 2

D. Dugger 3 0 0 0

Baer 3 0 1 2

Branden 3 0 1 0

Anderson 3 0 0 0

A. Olds 2 0 0 0

K. Cartmell 1 0 0 0

Totals 29 3 9 4

2B: Wenner.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - C. Butz (LP) 6-4-6-1-3-5.

Round 3

Moorhead 000 200 1 - 3 2 0

Lakers 210 000 1 - 4 6 3

Detroit Lakes

AB R H Bi

S. Dugger 3 1 1 0

Pudwill 4 0 2 1

Larson 2 0 0 0

Wenner 3 0 2 1

D. Dugger 3 0 1 0

Baer 2 0 0 0

S. Ianiro 2 0 0 0

Branden 1 0 0 0

Even 1 0 0 0

Anderson 1 0 0 0

O. Hanson 2 0 0 0

Goettel 1 1 0 0

Totals 25 4 6 2

2B: S. Dugger.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - C. Butz (WP) 7-2-3-1-4-9.

First-place game

Hawley 000 110 0 - 2 1 1

Lakers 000 100 2 - 3 3 2

Detroit Lakes

AB R H Bi

S. Dugger 3 0 0 0

Pudwill 3 1 1 0

Larson 3 0 0 0

Wenner 1 1 0 0

D. Dugger 3 1 1 1

Baer 3 0 0 0

Branden 1 0 1 1

Anderson 1 0 0 0

Goettel 1 0 0 0

Totals 19 3 3 2

2B: D. Dugger.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - C. Butz (WP) 7-1-2-0-5-6.

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