After beating three top-ranked teams at this weekend's Spencer Invitational, the Estherville Lincoln Central Midgets looked to extend their streak Monday night in a Lakes Conference match-up. They were able to with an 11-1 win in Spencer but not before the Tigers put a scare into them for the first four innings.
Both pitchers, Spencer's Taylor Anderson and ELC's Kendall Bosch breezed through the first three innings, allowing just one hit between them. In the bottom of the fourth, Kari Kramer led off the inning for Spencer with a drive to the gap in right-center for a double. She would come around to score after an ELC throwing error on Madi Rost's bunt the next play to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers were in position after four innings to upset the Midgets, who had beaten top-ranked (1A) and undefeated Akron-Westfield, No. 2-ranked (2A) North Union, and No. 4 (4A) Bishop Heelan on Friday and Saturday at the Spencer Invite.
The momentum shifted immediately, however, as ELC (23-4) finally got its bats going in the top of the fifth. Sadie Winter would launch a two-run homer to get the scoring started, and Caitlyn Clayton followed with a solo home run to give ELC a 3-1 lead with no outs. The Midgets would score four more runs before chasing Anderson from the game with a 7-1 lead.
Carly Richardson came on in relief to strand two runners in the fifth, and pitch a scoreless sixth, but ELC would tack on four more runs in the top of the seventh. Clayton blasted her second home run of the game to cap a 2-for-3 night with three RBIs.
Bosch picked up the win with seven innings, one run (unearned), four hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts. The senior pitcher also went 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Anderson took the loss after 4 1/3 innings and seven runs on seven hits and two walks. ELC collected 13 hits, 10 of which came in the fifth and seventh innings.
Richardson pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
Four different Tigers picked up hits, led by Kramer's double. Karis Rhode and Maddie Gould singled in the sixth inning, and Cassidy Fox singled in the seventh.
Spencer (11-12, 6-4) will play at Le Mars on Wednesday, host Carroll on Thursday and host Western on Friday. They will play a make-up game with MOC-Floyd Valley on Saturday, June 30, and play rescheduled Lakes Conference games with Emmetsburg on Monday, July 2, and Storm Lake on Tuesday, July 3.
Class 4A, which Spencer is in due to five softball classes, will begin its postseason tournament on Thursday, July 5, when Spencer will play at Storm Lake.
The Tigers dropped both their Saturday games at the Spencer Invitational on June 23. Spencer lost to George-Little Rock/Central Lyon, 8-1, in the first game Saturday morning.
Freshman Madi Rost started for the Tigers, who gave up five runs in the bottom of the fifth to lose control of the game. GLR/CL was ranked 14th in class 3A in last week's rankings. Taylor Anderson was 2-for-3 and Kelli Kramer went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Spencer's afternoon game was lost to Newell-Fonda, 14-1, in five innings. The Mustangs were ranked fourth in class 1A last week. The Tigers picked up six hits in the loss, including a double by both Kari Kramer and Emily Weeks. Anderson drove in the Tigers' only run.
Jenna Falline led Newell-Fonda with home run and four RBIs. Renee Maneman earned the win with six strikeouts in five innings. The Mustangs scored seven runs in the top of the second and seven more in the fifth.
George-Little Rock/Central Lyon 8, Spencer 1
Newell-Fonda 14, Spencer 1 (5 inn.)
George-Little Rock/CL 9, Cherokee 8
Estherville-LC 2, Bishop Heelan 1
Estherville-LC 9, North Union 5
Akron-Westfield 4, North Union 3 (9 inn.)
Akron-Westfield 7, Le Mars 2
Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn 10, Spirit Lake 5
Denison-Schleswig 10, Cherokee 4
Denison-Schleswig 5, Spirit Lake 3
Bishop Heelan 4, Newell-Fonda 2
Le Mars 8, M-M-C 3