After two games off, Estherville Lincoln Central's bats finally came back online in the first round of the Class 3A Region action on Tuesday.
ELC pounded out 12 hits against rival Spirit Lake in a 12-1 win.
ELC (25-6 overall) advances to the next round as the Midgets host Humboldt (19-13) at 7 p.m. Friday at the Iowa Lakes Softball Complex in Estherville. The Wildcats won 5-0 over Algona on Tuesday.
Caitlyn Clayton slide under the tag of Spirit Lake third baseman Amanda Bueltel in Tuesday’s Class 3A first-round game in Estherville. The ELC freshman went 3-4 at the plate to help the Midgets to a 12-1 win over the rival Indians.
EDN photo by David Swartz
Like the Midgets' 15-3 win over the Indians a week ago, it took awhile for the bats to heat up.
ELC did open up with a three-run first inning, but had just one hit.
Kristen King led off with a single and went to second when Indians' catcher Emily Mercer had a poor throw back to the pitcher.
Emily Kirchner was then hit by pitch and a passed ball allowed the runners to advance to second and third.
Kendall Bosch then reached first on a dropped third strike as King came in to score. Christina Tendal then hit a ball to left field that was dropped by Bailee Newman as ELC scored a second run. A sacrifice fly to left field by Taylor Lago plated ELC's third run.
That was the score until the bottom of the third when Alissa Christoffer reached on a two-out error and stole second base. A single by Amanda Bueltel scored the run, but Bueltel was caught between first and second.
ELC came up with a pair of hits in the fourth to score a run. Kirchner led off with a single, stole second and went to third when Tendal grounded out to second base for the second out. Lago singled to score the run.
ELC's offense came to life for five runs in the fifth inning.
Caitlyn Clayton led off with a single and went to third as the ball got past Newman in left field. Kellie Christensen then laid a bunt that went straight down the first baseline for an infield single and an RBI.
Christensen stole second base and went to third base on a passed ball. Macy Dahl drew a one-out walk and stole second. With first base open, Spirit Lake elected to intentionally walk ELC's leading hitter, Kirchner. However ball four got past Mercer and Christensen came in to score from third and Dahl also advanced.
Bosch singled to drive in both Kirchner and Dahl. Rachel Bates, courtesy running for Bosch, went to third when Tendal grounded out to second base and scored on another passed ball.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, ELC had solid defensive play from first baseman Tendal. After a leadoff single by Christoffer, Tendal ran in nearly to home plate to catch a short pop up by Bueltel. Paige Krause then popped up to Tendal, who then stepped on first to double up Christoffer, who had taken off for second base.
In the top of the seventh, ELC continued to put the pressure on Spirit Lake.
With one out, King reached on another Spirit Lake error in left field. She went to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Dahl.
Kirchner then hit a home run to straight-center field for the final runs of the game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, ELC came up with another double play.
After a leadoff double by Mercer, Cara Vale hit a grounder to Kirchner at short. Kirchner's throw to first was in time to get Vale. Meanwhile Spirit Lake's Mackenzie Thate, running for Mercer, was tagged trying to reach third base. A scary moment occurred as Kirchner was hurt on the tag, but she stayed in the game.
Carly Ites then popped up to third baseman Clayton to end the game.
Clayton was 3-4 in the game to lead ELC at the plate. Kirchner was 2-3 with two RBIs. Christensen also was 2-3 with an RBI. Boscch and Dahl each went 1-4 while King was 1-5.
For Spirit Lake, Christoffer, Bueltel, Mercer and Vale each went 1-3.
Spirit Lake ends the season with a 19-19 record and bids farewell to seniors Cara Vale, Amanda Bueltel and Emily Mercer.