D-NH softball earns hard-fought postseason victory

Alysa Fettkether slides into home as Dike-New Hartford teammate Taylor Kvale (left) tries to help the umpire make the call during Monday's regional game with Lake Mills. The Wolverines won, 14-8, to advance to Wednesday's regional quarterfinal with Saint Ansgar, which will be played at Central Springs High School. (Rob Maharry photo)

DIKE - The Dike-New Hartford softball team hadn’t won a playoff game in three years heading into Monday night’s district opener against Lake Mills, so walking off the field victorious meant a lot to the young team. But it didn’t come easy.

           

The Wolverines (11-13) used a six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead and eventually pull away to win 14-8 at Bob Smith Field in Dike, and Abby Sohn went the distance on the mound. D-NH plays Saint Ansgar at Central Springs High School in Manly on Wednesday.

           

Lake Mills (2-25) struck first in the opening frame when a Kit Byers infield single scored Natalie Brandenberg, but D-NH got even after Alysa Fettkether bunted in speedy leadoff hitter Taylor Kvale, who walked and stole second. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, Fettkether walked in another run, and Sohn smacked an RBI single to make it 3-1.

           

Madison Edwards pulled the Bulldogs back to within one on an RBI groundout in the top of the fourth, and Kvale scored on a wild pitch on the bottom of the inning before an error on a fly ball allowed another run to score, making it 5-2 in favor of the Wolverines. In the top of the fifth, however, D-NH was pushed to the brink.

           

Brandenberg hit a two-run single to bring the score to 5-4, and an Edwards base hit tied it at five. Brooke Bergo drove in another run on an infield single, and a Kate Groe single pushed it to 8-5 before Sohn finally escaped the jam.

           

“When the girls came off the field after we gave up that six runs, I said ‘We can do two things. We can roll over and let them just take it, or we can come back and put just as many on the board.’ It’s only three runs,” D-NH coach Rhandi Oelmann said.

 

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