For every defensive error Estherville Lincoln Central made, the Midgets came back with a better defensive play against Humboldt on Friday.
When the dust settled, ELC ace Kendall Bosch and the Midget defense shut out its second straight opponent with a 3-0 victory over the Wildcats.
ELC advances to Monday's Class 3A Region 1 final against George-Little Rock/Central Lyon for the chance to return to the state tournament for the second consecutive year. The Lions defeated 10th-rated Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 5-4 on Friday.
ELC’s Macy Dahl arrives at third base well ahead of the ball on this steal of third base against Humboldt in the Class 3A Region Semifinal in Estherville on Friday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
ELC defeated GLR/CL 8-6 at the Spirit Lake Tournament earlier this season.
On Friday, the Midget got in trouble early as the Wildcats loaded the bases on a leadoff single, an ELC error and a fielder's choice that got no outs.
But then shortstop Emily Kirchner caught a low liner and doubled up the runner who had stepped off third base for a double play. Bosch recorded her first strikeout to hold the visitors scoreless.
ELC displayed good defense again in the second inning after Bosch hit the leadoff batter. Third baseman Caitlyn Clayton made up for an earlier error by getting the force at second on the sacrifice bunt attempt. Catcher Taylor Lago then threw out the runner trying to steal second. Bosch ended the inning with her second strikeout.
"We just need to clean up our defense a little bit and take outs where we can get them," said ELC coach Megan Anderson. "But we did play tough enough to finish the inning."
Prior to the fourth inning, ELC had just one hit when Kellie Christensen hit a two-out single in the third inning.
But the Midgets took advantage of the Wildcats' first error in the top of the fourth.
Macy Dahl hit a grounder to the shortstop, who overthrew first allowing Dahl to head to second on the play. She stole third base and scored on a single by Kirchner.
In the top of the fifth, Humboldt threatened again. Lago dropped the third strike on the potential third out of the inning. A single from Humboldt's leadoff batter followed. But on a grounder hit toward Kirchner, the lead runner made contact with the ELC shortstop and was out via interference.
ELC went to work with two outs in the fifth inning as Christensen recorded her second single. A double to deep left field by Kristen King brought in Christensen. Dahl followed with a single up the middle to score King.
Humboldt had only one base runner in the final two innings, a two-out double by the No. 8 batter, but the game ended on a pop-up to Lago behind the plate.
Bosch finished the night with 10 strikeouts while giving up three hits with one hit batter and no walks.
At the plate, Christensen was 2-2 while King, Dahl, Kirchner and Lago each went 1-3.
"We need to attack with the bats a little more," said Anderson. "We can't wait until the fifth inning to score runs.
Game time on Monday in Sheldon is 7 p.m.