ESTHERVILLE?- You knew it would be a battle when Emmetsburg and Estherville Lincoln Central met for the first time this season on the softball diamond. ELC was leading the Lakes Conference race with a perfect 5-0 mark, while Emmetsburg was sporting a 3-2 mark in league play.
With the stage set, a battle ensued on Monday night at Estherville as the Lady E-Hawks came up with a run in the top of the 11th inning and then held on defensively to earn a 2-1 win in 11 frames over the Midgets. The win improves Coach Travis Birkey's team to 4-2 in the Lakes, while Estherville drops to 5-1. Overall, Emmetsburg moves to 13-4 with the victory.
Monday's game would quickly turn into a defensive struggle, as Emmetsburg would generate a lone hit in the top of the first frame. After Aly Berven and Kaity Degen hit into outs, Faith Schmidt came up with a single to left field, but was put out at second on a fielders' choice of Miranda Vlasman's at-bat.
ELC?would come up and got down by two quick outs off a strikeout and a fly ball, but Emily Kirchner managed a triple and then scored off a single by teammate Kendall Bosch to give the Midgets a 1-0 lead before the inning ended.
After the initial exchange, the game settled into the battle of defenses and pitchers as senior hurlers Faith Schmidt for the Lady E-Hawks and Kendall Bosch for the Midgets would parry back and forth.
The Lady E-Hawks would go down in order in the top of the second off three successive strikeouts, but ELC would duplicate the effort with a ground out to first and a pair of strikeouts.
Emmetsburg put the ball in play in the top of the third, but Whitney Kibbie grounded out, Kendall Deitering hit a fly ball for the second out and Aly Berven grounded out to end the at-bat.
The Midgets would also got down in order, with fly ball out and two ground ball outs to leave the score at 1-0 in favor of ELC?after three innings of play.
Emmetsburg came up in the top of the fourth with Kaity Degen leading off with a single to left field. Faith Schmidt would go down swinging, but Miranda Vlasman singled to right field, moving Degen to second base.
Jacque Carlson hit a fielders' choice that would see Degen put out at third on the force for the second out, but Michaela Rehm stepped up and pounded out a single into center field that allowed Vlasman to race home for the tying run.
Carlson and Rehm would be left waiting, however, when Teegan Olson flied out to end the at-bat, but the game was knotted at 1-1.
Estherville Lincoln Central would come up in the bottom of the fourth inning to face an inspired Emmetsburg defense, which retired the Midgets in order.
The Lady E-Hawks led off the top of the fifth with Whitney Kibbie striking out and Kendall Deitering grounding out. But Aly Berven bunted her way onto base, only to be left waiting when Kaity Degen grounded out to first base to end the opportunity.
The Midgets got a leadoff single before Schmidt induced a strikeout and a fly ball and a quick throw back to first got leadoff batter Taylor Lago out to end the inning.
The battle continued in the sixth inning as Faith Schmidt led off the inning with a single for the Lady E-Hawks and moved to second off a single from Vlasman. However, a grounder by Jacque Carlson to second resulted in a double play as Kibbie and Carlson were both put out and Schmidt was left a third when Michaela Rehm struck out to end the at-bat.
ELC?opened the bottom of the sixth with a back-to-back singles and put runners in scoring position before Schmidt got a strikeout. Facing ELC's Emily Kirchner, the leading hitter, Emmetsburg intentionally walked the batter ro load the bases before the defense made the stop off two fly balls to dodge the bullet.
Emmetsburg would go down in order in the top of the seventh, and returned the favor to the Midgets in their half of the seventh to send the game into extra innings with the 1-1 deadlock.
The Lady E-Hawks opened the eighth inning with a fly ball out for Aly Berven and a strikeout of Kaity Degen before Schmidt was struck out to end the at-bat.
The defense had to step up as ELC led off the bottom of the inning with a single by Kellie Christensen. A?strikeout and a ground out moved Christensen to second before Emily Kirchner was once again intentionally walked by the Lady E-Hawks. Kendall Bosch would draw a walk to load the bases a second time, but again, Emmetsburg dodged the bullet with a huge strikeout from Schmidt to end the inning.
The Lady E-Hawks would go down in order off ground outs in the top of the ninth frame, but the Midgets would also go down in order to send the game into a tenth inning.
The defensive battled continued in the tenth inning as Teegan Olson struck out, Whitney Kibbie grounded out and Kendall Deitering hit a fly ball to retire the side.
ELC would ground out the first two batters and were then retired off a fly ball.
In the top of the eleventh inning, Aly Berven led off with a fly ball to short and Kaity Degen grounded out. With two away, Faith Schmidt got on base off a shortstop's error and advanced to second off a throwing error. Miranda Vlasman would come up to bat and hit a single that moved Schmidt to third and then allowed her to race home for the go-ahead run. Jacque Carlson would go 2-2 in the count before fouling off four straight pitches from Bosch before hitting a fly ball to end the at-bat, leaving Vlasman waiting at second.
Now the defense had its' work cut out for it. Emily Kirchner got on base off a dropped fly ball and moved to second on the error before Bosch singled, but Kirchner was picked off at second in a run-down after Bosch missed on a bunt attempt and Bosch would be put out at second on a fielders' choice. With two outs, ELC?had one shot left, but Lago was struck out by Schmidt to claim the win for the Lady E-Hawks.
Faith Schmidt would get the win in the circle, facing 33 batters in the 11-inning marathon. Schmidt gave up one run, earned, off seven hits, while issuing three walks and striking out 10 batters.
Emmetsburg's offense was led by Miranda Vlasman's three hits with one RBI, while Faith Schmidt added a pair of base hits. Michaela Rehm tallied a single for an RBI, while Kaity Degen and Aly Berven both added base hits to the winning effort.
The Lady E-Hawks were slated to step out of the conference Tuesday night to meet up with in-county rival Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire at Terril, and then returned to Lakes Conference play on Wednesday with a trip to Storm Lake.
Emmetsburg will conclude the week with appearances on Friday and Saturday in the Fort Dodge Invitational Tournament. Teams scheduled to compete in the two-day tournament include Ankeny, Dowling Catholic of Des Moines, Sioux City East, Sioux City North, Fort Dodge St. Edmond's, Winterset, Webster City, Clear Creek-Amana, Colfax-Mingo, Harlan, Atlantic, North Union, BCLUW, Newell-Fonda and Fort Dodge.