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Patriots advance to section softball tournament

The Top-seeded Pequot Lakes Patriots softball team made a pair of first-inning runs hold up for a 2-1 victory over second-seeded Minnewaska in the West Subsection 6AA playoffs on Saturday, May 25, in Waite Park.

With the victory, Pequot Lakes improved to 15-2 overall and clinched the subsection runner-up as one of four teams advancing to the Section 6AA tournament.

The Patriots were scheduled to play Holdingford In the loser’s bracket to determine the subsection runner-up on Tuesday, May 28. That winner then faced the loser between West Subsection champions Staples-Motley and East Subsection winner Milaca also on May 28.

The section championship game was on Wednesday, May 29.

Patriots 2, Minnewaska 1

On May 25, Pequot Lakes scored in the bottom of the first when Jessica Kreitz and Lindzee Johnson singled and Erin Rudbeck delivered a two-run double with two outs. The score remained 2-0 until the third inning when the Lakers scored an unearned run. But that would be the end of the scoring as Pequot Lakes’ Katie White and Minnewaska’s Mady Phillips were locked in a pitching duel. Both teams also make admirable defensive plays to support their pitchers.

The Lakers stranded nine runners, including two in the top of the seventh after a pair of two-out singles and a pop up to Haley Wiebolt at shortstop to end the game. The Patriots stranded six runners, including Wiebolt after a leadoff double in the fifth and Hannah Zimmerman who doubled with one out in the sixth.

Pequot Lakes enjoyed an 8-5 edge in hits with Wiebolt finishing 2-for-3. White picked up the pitching win, striking out seven while walking just one. Phillips, a left-handed pitcher, had three strikeouts and no walks in taking the loss.

“I think the game was a big confidence builder for us as we move on," said Pequot Lakes coach Bret Sergent.

Staples-Motley 3, Patriots 2

In the subsection final in Glenwood, Pequot Lakes was edged the Cardinals when winning pitcher Megan Vetsch pitched her second complete game of the day. S-M snapped a 2-2 tie when the winning run scored on a bunt single in the fifth inning.

Vetsch struck out six and surrendered five hits to lead No. 3 S-M to the victory. Vetsch had also defeated the Patriots last year in the playoffs to end their unbeaten season.

Kelsey Zetah had four hits, including a homer, to spark the Carindals. Jessica Kreitz drilled a two-run homer to give the Patriots an early 2-1 lead. S-M took the lead, and Kyann Nyhus made a game-saving catch in center field in the bottom of the seventh when Rebecca Langer his a long fly ball with one runner on base. Wiebolt finished with two hits for Pequot Lakes.

White was the losing pitcher. She also tossed her second complete game of the day – striking out 10 while walking just one. She finished the day with 21 strikeouts.

Patriots 7,

Sauk Centre 0

In the subsection semifinals in Glenwood, Pequot Lakes downed the fourth-seeded Mainstreeters as White struck out 11 hitters while allowing just one hit.

Hannah Zimmerman clubbed a two-run homer while Jessica Kreitz, Lindzee Johnson and Rebecca Langer each doubled. Johnson finished with three hits while Zimmerman and White each had two.

The Patriots enjoyed a 13-1 edge in hits as Colleen LuGrain was the losing pitcher.

Pequot Lakes committed two errors while Sauk Centre played errorless ball.

Patriots 18, Melrose 5

In the subsection first round on Tuesday, May 21, in Pequot Lakes, the Patriots outslugged the eighth-seeded Dutchmen by scoring five times in both the second and third innings, and then added eight in the fourth for an 18-1 lead. Melrose had a small rally as Nikki Zierden drilled a three-run homer.

The big hit for Pequot Lakes in the second inning was a two-run single by Johnson while the key hit in the third was a two-run double by White and a two-run homer by Kreitz. In the eighth, the big hits were Zimmerman’s first career homer, a two-run single by White and a three-run homer by Kreitz.

The Patriots enjoyed a 12-8 edge in hits despite playing without one of their top hitter, Kayla Miller, who suffered a torn ACL in an off-season basketball game. Several of the Pequot Lakes runs were scored when Patriots reached base on walks.

Zimmerman finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored, Kreitz drove in six runs and White had four RBI. Taylor Crocker, Wiebolt and Barb Miller each had two hits while Becca Langer walked three times and scored three runs.

“We played well in the field, and had some big hits,” Sergent said. “Some of our younger players, like Taylor (Crocker) and Barb (Miller) also had big games.”