Perham’s Grace Minten delivered the big knock, the one that ultimately ended the season for the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Perham Yellowjackets in the Section 8AA playoffs in Perham.
“Coming away on the losing end, I’m still super proud of the girls and the battle they put up today,” Wadena-DC head coach Tracy Jack said. “The girls have been showing up ready to win, knowing they can win and that mentality piece of it has been a huge part of the successes we have had this season. I couldn’t be more proud of them. I’m bummed for the loss, but it’s never fun to lose.”
The Wolverines struggled to get hits off of Perham’s Katie Johnson. The ninth-grade pitcher struck out 10 batters and walked three. She allowed only two runs and was able to escape a big momentum changing jam in the second.
“We had the bases loaded but couldn’t come through early in the game,” Jack said. “When we would get a hit, we weren’t able to string them together. That’s huge, you can’t win a game if you don’t hit. The girls came up with huge defensive stops and played a full, great game of softball.”
Lila Lohmiller started the frame with a hard-hit ground ball that went past first base. After Johnson retired Amber Moen, she walked Hailey Wiederich and Laura Krause to fill the bases. Johnson recorded a strikeout for the second out, before giving up an RBI single to Mackenzie Carsten. However, Johnson was able to record the final out via the strikeout, leaving the bases full.
Perham answered with a quick run in the second, before Minten gave the Yellowjackets the lead with her two-run, homerun in the fourth. The Yellowjackets added another run in the fifth inning, extending the lead to 4-1.
Yet, the Wolverines would not go away without a fight. Nevada Schulz singled to start the seventh inning. She eventually scored, cutting the lead to two. However, Johnson induced a ground ball for the final out, securing the win for Perham.
Mackenzie Carsten took the loss for Wadena-DC. She pitched five total innings. She started the first four before being relieved, but came back on in the sixth. She allowed three runs on four hits. She struck out two and walked one. Casey Volkmann worked an inning and allowed one run on two hits.
“Our pitchers worked hard today and it was sound softball,” Jack said. “They knew where to go with the ball and they were making the plays and that’s huge for our pitchers, knowing they have a solid team behind them. They don’t feel afraid to put the ball over the plate. They have confidence in their team and they have confidence in their pitchers.”
Lila Lohmiller finished with a pair of hits, while Amber Moen, Schulz and Carsten added a hit each.
The Wolverines finish the season with a 9-10 record overall, but continued to show improvement on the field during the season.
Jack said this year’s seniors will be greatly missed. They helped turned the mindset around and improved the team from last year’s 3-16 record to this year’s 9-10 mark.
“Our seniors are going to be greatly missed next year. Casey Volkmann has been a key infielder for us and a pitcher. It will be hard to fill those shoes next year, same with Lila Lohmiller out in centerfield. She is all over the place out there, making plays you don’t think will be made,” Jack said. “Alex Kahl at third base has been a solid glove and a solid motivator for the team. Kate Schmidt has been an awesome roleplayer for the team and was willing to step up and go into any role that was needed throughout the season. They are always greatly missed and it will be hard to fill their shoes next year.”
WDC 0 1 0 0 0 0 1--2 4 2
PER 0 1 0 2 1 0 x--4 6 1
WP: Katie Johnson
LP: Mackenzie Carsten
HR: Grace Minten