With the regular season now come to a close, the Waconia softball team is ready for bigger and better things in the Section 2AAA playoffs, which begin this afternoon at Miller Park in Eden Prairie.
Seeded No. 7, Waconia is set to face off against No. 10 Eden Prairie at 5 p.m. The winner immediately advances to play No. 2 Chanhassen.
In preparation for the tournament, the Wildcats finished up the regular season with a 2-1 week, picking up a final conference victory over Holy Family and a win over Buffalo, sandwiched around a loss to Prior Lake.
Two runs was all it took to defeat the Holy Family Fire at home on May 13, but those runs were hard to come by.
Waconia scored its first run in the bottom of the first inning when junior Kia Pankey scored by stealing home. The Wildcats locked the game away with a lead off home run shot to left field by senior slugger Kenzie Clouse.
Pankey was 2-4 on the day, while sophomore Madelin Dammann was 2-3. Clouse, junior Madi Heckmann, and freshman Kayla Groeneveld picked up the rest of the Wildcats’ seven hits.
Senior pitcher Kiela DeVlaeminck kept the Fire offense on ice from the mound, throwing seven innings for the win. She allowed just three hits, while striking out five and walking one Fire batter.
Prior Lake 5, Waconia 4
In only their fourth loss of the season, the Wildcats fell at Prior Lake on May 15 in a close 5-4 game.
The Lakers put up one run in the bottom of the first, second, and third innings, before Waconia brought the game to 3-2 with two runs in the top of the fourth, scored on singles from junior Jordyn Goldschmidt and sophomore Emily Anderson, and a triple to left field from junior Nicole Groeneveld.
Waconia took a 4-3 lead with two more runs in the top of the sixth, off hits from DeVlaeminck, Groeneveld, an Anderson double, and a Prior Lake error.
But two walks and a Waconia error in the bottom of the inning would give the Lakers two runs and the game, as Prior Lake would win in 5-4.
Waconia scored its four runs on seven hits and two errors, while the Lakers had nine hits and one error.
At the plate, Goldschmidt, Groeneveld, and Anderson each had two hits.
DeVlaeminck threw for WHS and picked up the loss, throwing six innings. She allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits. She walked four and struck out two.
Waconia 10, Buffalo 7
After falling behind 6-1 on May 16, the Wildcats rallied in the sixth inning for a come-from-behind win to top Buffalo in a seven-inning 10-7 game.
Buffalo held a 6-0 lead after a five-inning second inning, and Waconia was able to get on the scoreboard in the third. Junior Jenna VanDeVelde scored after walking and being batted in by an RBI single from Pankey.
Trailing 6-1 through five innings, an explosive eight-run sixth inning put the Wildcats back on top and in control of the game.
Pankey led off with a single to right field, before Goldschmidt reached on a Buffalo error and DeVlaeminck walked. Groeneveld then laid down a two-run RBI single to right field and Anderson brought another run home with an RBI single to center.
Two more hits from Heckmann and Clouse tied the game at 6-6, but Waconia wasn’t done. Senior Haley DeVlaeminck knocked a single past the second baseman to put WHS up 7-6, before VanDeVelde reached on an error and Dammann and DeVlaeminck ran home. By the end of the inning, WHS was on top 9-6.
Buffalo closed the gap to 9-7 with a run in the bottom of the sixth, but a string of doubles from freshmen Lexi Kretsch and Jessica Grengs gave WHS the 10-7 victory in the seventh.
Waconia tallied 13 hits, with multi-hit days coming from Pankey (2-4), Goldschmidt (2-4), and Clouse (2-4). Seven other Wildcats also had hits.
Kiela DeVlaeminck threw her third game of the week for WHS, allowing seven runs (two earned) on seven hits. She struck out three, walked two, and gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the first.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com