Late inning heroics: Lakers advance with lively last at-bats
Trailing by a run in the top of the seventh, Detroit Lakes' No. 9 hitter Matteya Borah turned the game around with a dramatic home run spurring a two-run rally to lead the No. 3 Lakers to a 3-2 victory over No. 2 Sartell-St. Stephen in Sartell in...
Trailing by a run in the top of the seventh, Detroit Lakes’ No. 9 hitter Matteya Borah turned the game around with a dramatic home run spurring a two-run rally to lead the No. 3 Lakers to a 3-2 victory over No. 2 Sartell-St. Stephen in Sartell in the second round of the championship bracket of Section 8AAA softball playoffs Thursday, May 24.
The Sabres erased a 1-0 DL lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on an infield single by Kami Counter and her courtesy runner Grace Rasmussen tied the game. After a Laker double play to limit the potential damage the Sabres had two runners in scoring position.
Laker starter Madilyn Kirchner loaded the bags with an intentional walk, but beaned the the next batter, Addy DeMaine, to bring home the go-ahead run 2-1. Kirchner induced a groundout to get out of the jam.
DL needed at least a baserunner and Borah showed bunt to start her leadoff at-bat top of seven.
“We were going to read the defense and she was bunting all the way,” DL head coach Phil Kirchner said. “The girl at third base was playing shallow and I gave it to her.”
Kirchner told Borah to read the defense and gave her the green light.
“She backed up and fouled one off and she played in and she swung away and wow, that was a big play,” said Kirchner.
Sabre leftfielder Kayla Nelson had a bead on Borah’s drive to the fence. Nelson timed her jump at the wall and the ball palmed in her glove and bounced over the fence as Borah was rounding second base to send the Laker dugout sprinting to home plate to celebrate a huge hit.
“This is probably one of the bigger fences we’ve been hitting on and I didn’t expect it to go over but I knew she wasn’t going to catch it,” said Borah. “I was just trying to book it to three so Phil wouldn’t get mad at me,” she laughed.
Leadoff hitter Laura Prussia got straight to business lacing a triple with no outs to set up the potential go-ahead run.
Madilyn Kirchner put the ball in play and Prussia scored the game-winner on a misplayed ball in the infield.
The Sabres did give the Lakers a scare in their last at-bats. Kirchner got the first two batters out quickly but a walk to Counter and a bloop single to shallow right-center by Riley Trobec put the tying and winning run in scoring position before Kirchner retired the side on a pop to Prussia at second base to earn the victory.
Kirchner fanned a pair and walked three in seven innings.
Trobec was the pitcher of record for the Sabres and pitched a solid game despite taking the loss striking out eight Lakers.
Detroit Lakes took the early one-run lead on a one-out bunt single by Kirchner and a Lauryn Manning single in the third inning. Kirchner was forced out at third base on a Rachael Perkins fielder’s choice. Mackenzie Braukmann hit a two-out double to the gap to bring home Manning with the go-ahead tally.
“We’re only halfway right now and we have a pretty even section one through six,” Coach Kirchner said. “If we can get on a roll here and win these tough games with adversity and nerves, that’s how you’re going to get to state right there.”
State talk is plausible as DL will travel to face No. 1 Bemidji Monday, May 28 with the winner earning a spot in the Section 8AAA championship game undefeated in the double elimination tournament.
“This is really big to us and we know we can beat Bemidji,” said Borah.
The two teams split a doubleheader in Bemidji to begin regular season play.
“Hopefully, we’ll come in with a win again,” Borah said. “That’s what we want.”
Bemidji had their hands full in a 10-8 victory over No. 4 Alexandria to advance. Both the Jacks and Lakers have matching records of 14-7.
Little Falls eliminated Fergus Falls 5-4 to set up an elimination game with Alex. Sauk Rapids plays Sartell-St. Stephen in the other half of the bottom bracket.
DL 001 000 2 - 3 7 0
SS 000 002 0 - 2 8 2
WP: Madilyn Kirchner; LP: Riley Trobec; HR: Matteya Borah