In a 9-2 game between No. 8 Waconia and No. 9 Chaska on May 23, the Waconia softball season ended abruptly in the first round of the Section 2AAA tournament.
Falling to the Hawks, the Wildcats scored two runs on seven hits. What hurt the team most was seven WHS defensive errors that lead to unearned Chaska runs.
Chaska snagged an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first, only to have Waconia answer with its first run in the bottom of the second. With two out, sophomore Jordyn Goldschmidt singled to center field, scoring senior Ashley Pannier, who had previously reached on a fielder’s choice.
Chaska took the lead for good in the top of the third, scoring three runs on three separate Waconia errors.
It looked like a WHS rally might have started in the bottom of the third inning, as first junior Haley DeVlaeminck doubled to center field with no outs. Senior Jaci Reinke then doubled to left field to score DeVlaeminck, but the rest of the Wildcat batters were up and down 1-2-3.
After grabbing six hits in the first four innings, the Wildcats were limited to just one hit in the final three innings, as Chaska brought in their ace pitcher in junior Taylor Schwalbe. Schwalbe allowed just one WHS hit and struck out four.
The Hawks smacked a solo home run in the top of the fourth, put up another run in the top of the fifth, and wrapped up the evening with three runs in the top of the seventh to take the game 9-2 and advance in the tournament. The Hawks would lose 4-1 to No. 1 seeded Shakopee later that night.
With their first round loss, the Wildcats were eliminated from the Section 2AAA tournament, thus ending what looked like a promising season.
DeVlaeminck and Goldschmidt were both 2-4 at the plate, with DeVlaeminck doubling twice and Goldschmidt driving in one run. Reinke was 1-3 with a double and an RBI, while McCall Helstrom (1-2) and Nicole Groeneveld (1-3) each had a hit as well. Throughout the game, the Wildcats left six runners stranded on base.
Junior Kiela DeVlaeminck took the mound for WHS, throwing all seven innings. DeVlaeminck allowed nine runs (four earned) on nine hits, including one home run. She walked two and struck out one.
Earlier in the week, the Wildcats faced off against Shakopee in their final regular season game. The Sabers would win 4-0 after two runs in the fifth inning and a two-run home run in the seventh to seal the game.
Waconia grabbed three hits, one each from Haley DeVlaeminck, Groeneveld, and sophomore Madi Heckmann. Kiela DeVlaeminck threw for WHS, striking out six and walking two. She allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits in her seven innings on the mound.
The Wildcats finished the season 10-9. Look for a full season wrap up in the coming weeks.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com