The Perham softball team raced out to a 7-0 lead and held off a rally from the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines in picking up an 8-3 victory in Wadena on April 27. It was the third straight win for the Yellowjackets, who have put on impressive displays at the plate during their first three games of the season.
“I think it was a really good game. We had a lot of fun,” Perham’s Cierra Olson said. “We were pretty solid and it felt really good to play.”
Olson has been one of the toughest outs in the Perham lineup. She reached base four times, drove in three runs and scored two runs in helping Perham build their lead. In 13 plate appearances, Olson has reached base 11 times.
“It feels good. Something from last season changed. I don’t know,” Olson said. “My head is in the game and I’m hitting it a lot better this season.”
While the Yellowjackets got off to a strong start, scoring a run in the first and two more in the third, the Wadena-DC bats were silent. It’s something that head coach Tracy Jack hopes will change with a busy week with six conference games ahead.
“I think we played well but we have to get our bats going early on,” Jack said. “When we are not hitting and not getting runs until the fifth and sixth innings, it’s hard to come back and get ourselves back into a game.”
Mara Leslie pitched well in her second start of the season for Perham. She pitched into the fourth inning and allowed three runs on three hits. She struck out five and walked three. Katie Johnson closed the door for Perham. She pitched two and 2/3 innings, allowed one hit and struck out two. Johnson has picked up two wins in the circle and has a save in Perham’s three games this year.
“I have three pitchers that can come in. Mara Leslie pitched very well and it looked like she got a little tired at the end,” Perham head coach Mark Leslie said. “I put Katie Johnson in and she finished it out at the end.”
Olson delivered the game’s first run with an RBI single, scoring Aixa Kolofale. Perham added to its lead when Emma Bowers drove in Olson with an RBI single, Hannah Ekse scored on an error on the throw to third, making it 3-0 in the third.
Perham extend its lead in the fourth inning when Cierra Olson connected for a bases loaded double, scoring Johnson and Katie Zepper. Bowers reached on an error, which allowed two more runs to score and Perham had a 7-0 lead, forcing the Wolverines to go to the bullpen.
Mackenzie Carsten came on in relief and settled things down for Wadena-DC. Carsten pitched three and 1/3 innings. She allowed one run on three hits, struck out two and walked two.
“She does a good job of mixing it up. She throws hitters off,” Jack said. “This past week what we have seen is the batters don’t really get their timing down later in the game like they do some of our other pitchers. She is doing good things, mixing it up and throwing the batters off.”
The Wolverines responded in the fourth with three runs. Laura Krause doubled in Lila Lohmiller and Casey Volkmann, before Courtny Warren grounded in a run, which cut the lead to 7-3. Leslie would get out of the inning without allowing any further damage and Johnson came on and shut the door for the save.
Perham tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Kolofale tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Grace Minten.
Zepper, Kolofale and Olson had three hits for Perham. Minten, Ekse, Bowers and Johnson had single hits in the game.
Volkmann, Krause, Carsten and Amber Moen had hits for the Wolverines in the game.
The Yellowjackets improve to 3-0 on the season and will take on Osakis on Monday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. at Arvig Park. The Wolverines are now 2-3 and will begin a busy week of three conference doubleheaders on Tuesday, May 1 with Ottertail Central in Battle Lake at 4 p.m.
PER 1 0 2 4 0 0 1--8 13 0
WDC 0 0 0 3 0 0 0--3 4 3
WP: Mara Leslie
LP: Casey Volkmann
S: Katie Johnson