Softball: Big innings sink Wolverines in sweep

With the losses, WDC drops to 4-2 and 3-2 in the Park Region Conference. WDC will host Parkers Prairie for a double header on Thursday before traveling to Perham for a key Section 8AA tilt at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

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Softball coach Tracy Jack talks her player through the path to getting home in a home game in Wadena.
Michael Johnson / Pioneer Journal

NEW YORK MILLS — Teams like the New York Mills softball team are the kind of teams that others use as a measuring stick.
With multiple state appearances and a pair of state titles in recent years, they have been the Gold Standard along Highway 10 and in the Park Region Conference. Despite marked improvement by the Wolverines, the Eagles put up some big innings and swept a double header 12-5 and 18-7 Tuesday, May 3.
New York Mills controlled the first game from the get go. After a scoreless first, the Eagles scored 4 in the second and 2 in the third. Meanwhile, Eagle pitcher Kailey Keskitalo was dominant to start. She was perfect through 3, holding the Wolverines hitless with 3 looking strikeouts.
WDC finally broke through in the 4th when Jenna Dykhoff got a one out single and stole second. She advanced to third when Jada Dykhoff was thrown out on an attempted steal of home and scored on a single from Mercedes Schulz to narrow the gap to 6-1.
The Eagles would go on to score 3 in both the 5th and 6th, but the Wolverines didn't quit either. They scored 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th. In the 5th, Jada Dykhoff singled and scored on a Jamie Barthel bunt. In the 6th, Montana Carsten knocked in Addie Carr and Jenna Dykhoff drove in Carsten with a solid single.
WDC was led at the plate by Addison Carr and Jenna Dykhoff who both went 2 for 3. Jenna Dykhoff had 2 RBI. WDC continued to blister the base paths with 7 steals, led by Jada Dykhoff with 3.
Carsten went 3 in the circle, allowing 6 runs on 4 hits with a strikeout. Jada Dykhoff made her varsity debut pitching the final 3, allowing 6 runs on 2 hits with 3 strikeouts. WDC committed 4 errors in the contest.
After Game 1, Coach Jack said, "NYM hit the ball hard tonight, and was able to find the gap while doing so to string together some good offensive innings. I was proud of the girls for not counting themselves out as we continued to chip away and put up some runs late in the first game."

Game 2

Sometimes the final score doesn't tell the story. For 5 innings, WDC played some of the best softball they have played all season. Unfortunately, the sixth inning proved disastrous and led to a lopsided final.
New York Mills picked up where they left off in the first game, coming out with 3 runs in the top of the first. As they've done all season, the Wolverines didn't back down. WDC clawed back in the bottom of the first thanks to back to back singles from the Dykhoff sisters. After a walk to Schulz to load the bases, Barthel delivered a solid knock to put the Wolverines on the board. Madelyn Gallant followed with a grounder up the middle that plated two and tied the game.
Jenna Dykhoff was brilliant in innings two through five, holding the Eagles to just 1 run on 2 hits with a pair of strikeouts. Meanwhile it was the Wolverines who forged ahead, thanks to a Hailey Kircher walk, and a big error by the Eagle centerfielder on a Jada Dykhoff fly ball. Dykhoff came around to score thanks to a couple of passed balls to push the lead to 5-4 after 5.
The sixth inning was one WDC would like to forget. New York Mills batted 19 and scored 14 runs, including 11 before an out was recorded to push an excellent game to a blowout.
Despite the tough inning, the Wolverines came back with 2 in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a 2 out 2 run single from senior Chloe Kapphahn.
Barthel led the offense with a double, while Gallant and Kapphahn both had a pair of RBI on singles. The Dykhoff sisters each had a steal. Jenna Dykhoff took the loss in the circle, allowing 11 runs on 7 hits with 3 strikeouts in five plus innings.
Head Coach Tracy Jack was complementary of her team following the games, "From the start, game 2 was a great battle back and forth. We had solid defensive innings in the 1-5, but New York Mills was able to take control of the game in the sixth inning capitalizing on some errors and hard hit balls to the gaps. We were able to answer and get a couple runs back in the bottom half of the inning. We're ready to regroup and face off against Parkers Prairie in another conference double header on Thursday."

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