Softball: No. 2 Wadena-Deer Creek trounces No. 7 Frazee in first round of Section 8AA tournament
After the Green Wave trounced the Lakers in Game 1, both teams’ offenses went nuclear in a high-scoring Game 2.
WADENA – First-year head coach Brooke Umland took over a struggling Wadena-Deer Creek softball program that has seen little to no success in recent history. Now, the No. 2 Wolverines are moving on to the second round of the Section 8AA tournament after a statement victory over No. 7 Frazee on Tuesday.
After a bumpy first inning, WDC scored every chance it had on its way to a 13-4 shellacking of the Hornets at home. The Wolverines secured their 15th victory of the season scoring 10 or more runs.
“I think in the first inning we were a little shaky going 0-3 in the batter’s box and giving up three runs,” Umland said. “Then we settled in really nice and I think we played a really good softball game after that.”
Senior center fielder Hailey Kircher felt the win was what the inexperienced WDC team needed to begin its section tournament run.
“This win was incredibly important for our confidence,” she said. “We are such a young team. I think coming into these games playing against older girls and teams that have had more experience than us, we get a little nervous and a little shaken. Winning these games, it boosts our confidence and prepares us to play better teams.”
Montana Carsten started on the mound for the Wolverines. Frazee attacked her early in the first inning. Carsten surrendered a two-run home run to Frazee’s Ashley Malikowski and the Hornets went up 3-0. Back-to-back singles followed the home run before Carsten could get out of the inning.
The Wolverines failed to respond in the bottom half of the inning seeing their first three batters get retired in order. Carsten didn’t allow a rough first inning to get into her head and settled in for the rest of the game. She gave up one more run on her way to a complete game. Kircher has always admired Carsten’s ability to recover swiftly.
“Montana is incredibly talented,” she said. “I’m not sure how she is able to battle back after a walk or having a first inning like she did today. She has the most confidence out of all of us. She can throw three balls and come right back with a strike and strikeout the batter. She is amazing.”
Umland praised her sophomore’s performance after a tough first inning.
“I think out of all of our players, Montana (Carsten) is one of the most calm, cool and collected kids out there. Something could go wrong right away and she is going to rebound really well. I think Mercedes (Shulz) behind the plate calms her down as well. She only gave up one run after that first inning. She did a really good job with runners in scoring position in hitting her spots.”
WDC began their offensive attack in the bottom of the second. Lola Pulver drove in Jenna Dykhoff with a single and Ashley Pavek hit a sacrifice fly to center field for the second run of the inning to cut the Hornets’ lead to 3-2.
The Wolverines opened the game up with five runs in the bottom of the third. Isabelle Lehmkuhl and Pavek hit back-to-back two RBI singles to round out the big inning and give WDC a 7-3 lead after the third frame. Umland saw that inning a huge momentum shift in favor of her squad.
“It was huge and our bottom of the lineup really produced there,” she said. “We got big hits from Lehmkuhl and Pavek. When you have your bottom-of-the-lineup producing, it is huge for us and we put up 13 runs because of it.”
The bottom four batters of the lineup of Pulver, Lehmkuhl, Pavek and Kircher combined for three hits and seven RBIs in 12 total at-bats.
From innings four to six, the Wolverines outscored the Hornets 6-1. Kircher had never experienced a first-round section tournament victory at WDC. She had her doubts but was all smiles to see her team move on.
“It is awesome, especially being a senior,” she said. “We come into these games praying for the best and wishing that the worst stays away from us. It is just a great feeling overall.”
Umland has had loads of fun coaching this group of girls in her first year. They are the biggest reason for all the success the team has had this season.
“Most of the credit needs to go to the girls,” she said. “They are always out here trying to win for each other and being a part of that has been super fun. Our coaching staff loves coming every day and showing up for the girls. They put in the work in the work and it shows in the win, loss column for us.”
FRZ- 3 0 0 1 0 0 0- 4
WDC- 0 2 5 2 2 2 X- 13
WADENA-DEER CREEK PITCHING- Montana Carsten: 7IP, 9 H, 4R, 2ER, 2K, 2BB
WADENA-DEER CREEK HITTING- Addison Carr: 2-4, R, 2RBI; Montana Carsten: 1-3, R, BB; Jada Dykhoff: 2-4, 2R; Jenna Dykhoff: 2-3, 3R, BB; Mercedes Schulz: 1-3, RBI, BB; Lola Pulver: 1-3, 2R, 2RBI, Isabelle Lehmkuhl: 1-3, R, 2RBI; Ashley Pavek: 1-4, 3RBI; Hailey Kircher: 0-2