M-C girls close regular season with four wins, receive No. 2 seed

By: 
Chad Smith

Mabel-Canton played a lot of softball to end the regular season. Not only did they play four-straight games in four days last week, but going back to the previous week, the Cougars played a combined 11 games in 11 days. They started the week getting a walk-off single and a home win over Houston 13-12 on Monday, May 13. The Cougars then earned a split in the season series with GMLOK by picking up a 7-2 road win on May 14.

Mabel-Canton beat visiting Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons 10-0 in five innings on Wednesday, May 15. They played their last game of the week on Thursday, winning a home slugfest against Lyle/Pacelli 11-8, clinching a tie with GMLOK for second in the Southeast Conference. Friday's game versus Fillmore Central/Lanesboro was canceled due to impending weather concerns.

Sub-section

Mabel-Canton received the No. 2 seed behind top seed Wabasha-Kellogg in the Sub-section 1A East Softball Tournament. M-C hosted and eliminated No. 7 Southland 14-4 in six innings on Monday of this week, not long before this edition went to press. The next round was delayed by weather from Tuesday until Wednesday when the Cougars (12-6, 8-4 SEC) hosted No. 3 Goodhue, which had eliminated No. 6 Houston 4-3. Complete coverage of these playoff games will be in next week’s News Leader.

Now in double-elimination play, the sub-section tournament moves to Wabasha on Thursday, May 23. Both the sub-section champion and runner-up advance to the Section 1A Tournament at Austin on May 29 and 31.

M-C 13, Houston 12

The Mabel-Canton softball team waited literally as long as it could before completing the comeback. A walk-off single by Hannah Snell drove in both the tying and winning runs for Mabel-Canton in the seventh-and-final inning to overtake visiting Houston 13-12. This win came just two days after defeating the same Hurricanes, 6-5, in an extra inning at the Hayfield Tournament

The Cougars came from behind twice in the Monday rematch. Down early 5-0, M-C rallied back to lead 7-6 after five innings.

The Hurricanes promptly scored six runs to go back ahead 12-7. Not to be outdone, the Cougars were back with two runs (12-10) going into the seventh inning.

After the 'Canes went three-up, three-down order in the top of the last inning, MC scored three runs without an out to win. The first run scored with the help of two Houston errors before three successive singles by Emily Carolan, Lauren Wyffels and Snell.

The back-and-forth battle featured 25 runs and 26 base hits (M-C 14, Houston 12). The ball flying all over the field meant more chances to make a mistake as there were also 10 errors (Houston 7, M-C 3). The Hurricanes committed four more errors but benefited from three more walks.

The Cougars prevailed with power, banging out three triples and two doubles. Snell batted 4 for 5 with a pair of triples (2 RBIs). Kenidi McCabe went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.

Lexi Thorson hit 2 for 3 with a triple (2 RBIs). Jordyn Newgard was 2 for 3 with an RBI-double. Other Mabel-Canton hits came from Payton Danielson, Carolan (RBI) and Wyffels

While seven Cougars had base hits, 10 different Hurricanes hit safely. Olyvia Beckman and Alyssa Rostad each had two hits, including a double, while driving in two runs apiece.

This was the Cougars' third win of the season against Houston (5-13, 4-7 SEC), but the last two were much, much closer than a previous 14-1 M-C victory.

M-C 7, GMLOK 2

Trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning, Mabel-Canton took the lead with a four-run outburst and then followed that up an inning later with three insurance runs. "We played so much better than the first time we played them," said M-C coach Kati Bergey, referring to a previous 10-1 loss to second-place Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland (GMLOK).

The Bulldogs swung the bats well early. GMLOK (11-6, 8-3 SEC) used four hits to score their two runs but had only one runner reach base during the final four innings.

Both young pitchers had the ball near the plate, combining for 13 strikeouts and only one base on balls.

Carolan, a freshman, earned the pitching win, striking out four, walking none, giving up only five hits (all singles) and just one earned run. Sophomore Lilly Hughes took the loss despite striking out nine and walking only one but was hit hard during the Cougars' two big innings.

M-C out-hit GMLOK 9 to 5 and had all three of the extra-base hits. McCabe hit 3 for 4 with two doubles while Thorson went 2 for 4. Newgard added a double with the other hits coming from Snell, Danielson and Carolan.

All five Bulldog hits were singles from five different players.

M-C 10, AC/GE 0

For the second time in two days, Mabel-Canton avenged a previous conference loss with a 10-0 home shutout of Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons. Carolan pitched well and kept the ball around the strike zone. She allowed only six hits and walked just one batter, her only base on balls in the last 13 innings. Losing pitcher Erika Bute issued only two walks but was tagged for 14 base hits.

The game ended with the 10-run rule in the bottom of the fifth inning after an RBI-double from Danielson, her third hit (3 for 4) and third run batted in. McCabe also went 3 for 4 with a trio of RBIs.

All nine Cougars in the batting order had base hits, including a triple from Snell and an RBI-double from Lee (2 for 3). Six Cougars had RBIs, including Thorson, Newgard, and Michels

The only serious AC/GE threat came when three of the visitors' six total hits loaded the bases in the fourth inning. Leading 4-0 at the time, the Cougar defense got two outs on the base paths, including one out on a play at the plate.

The win assured the Cougars (10-6) of finishing the season with a winning record, while AC/GE slipped below .500 at 8-9 (4-7 SEC).

M-C 10, Lyle/Pacelli 8

Mabel-Canton closed the conference race by moving up into a second-place tie by outslugging visiting Lyle/Pacelli 11-8. This was the Cougars' fourth game in four days last week.

Carolan has been locked-in out in the pitchers’ circle. She didn’t walk a single batter in this game and finished the regular season with only one walk among the last 91 batters faced.

However, the game did not begin well for the Cougars with L/P batters opening the game with seven straight base hits and a 7-0 lead.

M-C replied with only one run in the bottom of that first inning but tied it with six runs in the next inning.

The Cougars led 11-7 after four innings, a margin that held until the Athletics tacked on an unearned run in the final seventh inning. After that explosive start, L/P managed only four more hits in the next six innings

M-C hit the ball hard and belted three triples while out-hitting the visitors 17 to 12. Snell went 3 for 3 with a triple and double while driving in three runs and scoring twice herself.

Newgard (2 for 4) and Michels also had triples. Besides being the winning pitcher, Carolan went 4 for 4 with the bat. All nine M-C batters had base hits, which includes Michels (2 RBIs), Thorson (2 RBIs), Wyffels (RBI), Lee (RBI) and Danielson (stolen base). Seven Cougars crossed home plate, including two runs scored by pinch-runner Emma Tollefsrud.

With a previous 10-5 decision at Austin, M-C completed a season sweep of L/P (8-1, 4-7 SEC) and finished in a second-place tie with GMLOK, each with 8-4 SEC records behind conference champion and state-ranked No. 5 Randolph (18-2, 12-0 SEC).

For this week's post-season playoffs, M-C is in Section 1 while Randolph is in Section 4 and GMLOK is in larger-school Class AA.