A sliding play at home plate, some very solid defense and timely hits were the keys to success for the Frazee softball team, as the Lady Hornets advanced through the double elimination portion of the Section 6-1A playoffs unscathed.
The No. 2 Lady Hornets (16-5) escaped both Sebeka 2-1 and top-seeded New York Mills 8-7 Thursday in Frazee and now will face the South’s No. 5 seed, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale Tuesday in Pelican Rapids, starting at 5:30 p.m.
“It’s been awhile since a Frazee softball team has been this far in the playoffs,” said Lady Hornet head coach Dave Trautman. “The defense played very well (Thursday) and we had some good pitching.”
The second round game against No. 3 Sebeka took five extra innings to decide the victor, before Autumn Mahoney’s gapper in the bottom of the 12th scored senior Katie McCorquodale with two outs on the board and to secure the 2-1 victory.
Defense was the backbone for both teams, as the Lady Hornets collected nine hits and Sebeka just three off of Frazee pitchers Jo Shipman and Alexis Tappe.
Frazee had just two errors in the 15-inning affair, while salvaging the game in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score at 1-1 after loading the bases with no outs.
Sebeka came up with a grounder during the bases-loaded situation, as Trojan pitcher fielded it, threw it home for the out and the catcher relayed that to first base for the double play.
But Frazee junior Taylor Tappe – who was on second – bustled down the third base line on the catcher’s relay to first and slid in on a close play to tie the game 1-1.
“There was no stopping Taylor from scoring,” Trautman said. “She had no intentions of stopping at third base. That was some real hustle.”
After both teams failed to score on several threats in the next four innings, Frazee finally broke through in the bottom of the 12th inning.
McCorquodale was hit by a pitch with two outs already tagged on the Lady Hornets.
The hit and run sign was given and Mahoney delivered with a gapper to the fence, with McCorquodale in motion. That was key, as the Frazee senior scored from first base to secure the win.
Shipman and Alexis Tappe both pitched, with the latter finishing the last five innings for the win. She recorded nine strikeouts.
But there wasn’t much of a break in store for the Lady Hornets as they faced top-seeded New York Mills, which was coming off a 12-2 win over Lake Park-Audubon in six innings.
After the second inning, the Eagles led 4-2, before Frazee tied the game at 4-4 in the top half of the third.
In the fourth, Frazee created an 8-4 gap with four runs, as Taylor Tappe continued her hot hitting with a two-run hit.
New York Mills clawed its way back into the game with three runs in the sixth frame, but Alexis Tappe stymied them in the bottom of the seventh for the 8-7 victory.
Taylor Tappe had two doubles and four RBIs, while Mahoney and senior Ashley Bachmann added two hits. Frazee finished with a dozen hits.
The Eagles were limited to three hits, but used eight walks and a hit batter to their advantage for their seven runs.
Now the Lady Hornets will look to topple Bertha-Hewitt – the same team which beat them a couple weeks ago by the score of 4-2.
“We thought we let the game get away from us, but Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale (8-12) is a very good team and one of the top ones in that half of the section,” Trautman added.
The winner will advance to the Section title game and the loser will head to the play-back bracket. The championship game is Thursday, May 30, in Pelican Rapids, starting at 4:30 p.m.
Frazee ends season with a flurry of wins
The Frazee softball team took its first game in the Section 6-1A playoffs with a 12-2 win over Nevis Tuesday.
But the regular season finished in a flurry, as the Frazee Hornets played 13 games in two weeks and finished by going 10-3 in those games.
The Hornets also finished second in the Heart O’Lakes Conference with an 8-2 HOL record, while DGF finished at 9-1, with their only loss being to Frazee.
The Hornets swept Breckenridge, after falling down early 4-0 in the first inning.
The Lady Hornets picked up just one run in the first, but scored 11 times in the bottom of the second to take a 12-4 lead.
Breck answered back with another four-run inning to close the gap to 12-8.
After the Hornets added two more in the sixth inning, Breck scored two more in the seventh to close the scoring at 14-10.
The strike zone was hard to find for the pitchers, as the strong northwest winds and sudden gusts would take their toll on the flight of the ball.
For the game Breckenridge scored their 10 runs on just four hits, but were aided by 12 walks, two hit batters and four Hornet errors.
The Hornets on the other hand, scored their 14 runs on 10 hits, had eight walks and were aided by three Cowgirl errors.
The Hornets were led by Paige Hanson, who had three hits and was followed by Mahoney and Taylor Tappe (one homer) with two hits apiece.
Shipman pitched the first 3.1 innings, with Mandy Donahue coming on in relief to finish the last 3.2 innings.
Frazee took control of the second game, with eight runs in the first and added two more in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth and then three more in the fifth as the Lady Hornets won by the score of 18-0.
Shipman and Alexis Tappe combined for a no hitter as they held the Cowgirls at bay.
The Hornets banged out 13 hits as a number of players were marked in the hit column.
Leading the way was Shipman with three hits, while Ashley Bachmann, Tappe and Amber Bauer had two hits and Courtney Gildersleeve, McCorquodale, Alexis Tappe and Kennady Barlund had one hit apiece.
The Lady Hornets entered the doubleheader day at Hawley knowing that if they won one game they would gain second place in the Conference and if they won two, they would have a share of the title.
Hawley also was playing for second place, so there was plenty at stake between two good teams.
The Lady Hornets took the first game 3-1.
Pitching for the Hornets in this game saw Shipman starting and Alexis Tappe finishing.
Both girls allowed just one hit in the game while striking out two Hawley batters and walking three.
The Hornets were led by two hits from Mahoney and one hit apiece from Barlund, Taylor Tappe and Amber Bauer.
Hawley took the nightcap 6-4, though, to even the doubleheader.
Both teams had just three hits apiece, but each had a couple of big hits.
Hawley had a big three run homer in the third inning and Shipman came up with a big hit for the Hornets as she picked up two RBIs in the four-run sixth.
The regular season finale ended with a 4-2 loss to Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, after the Lady Hornets left the bases loaded in the seventh inning.