Belle Plaine answers Warriors’ push

Calamus-Wheatland senior Grace Elvert puts down a bunt during Monday’s 1A Region 6 first-round game with GMG (Garwin). Elvert had three hits and three RBIs against the Wolverines, including a final two-run double that gave the Warriors’ their winning margin in a 13-1 victory. Elvert had two more hits, two days later, in a quarterfinal game with Belle Plaine, but the Plainsmen erased a 5-4 deficit in the fourth inning of an eventual 8-5 victory.

BELLE PLAINE — There was no apprehension for the Calamus-Wheatland softball team.

Despite playing in an unfamiliar location against an unfamiliar — but ranked — foe, the Warriors went right at 1A No. 11 Belle Plaine during Wednesday’s regional quarterfinal.

But every time the Warriors were able to strike against the Plainsmen, the hosts had a response.

The Warriors scored right away in the first inning, so did Belle Plaine.

The two teams traded runs again in the second before Cal-Wheat jumped in front again with three runs in the fourth inning.

The Plainsmen, though, reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning and, this time, held it for good in an 8-5 victory.

It was the hosts who were nervous early, and the Warriors took advantage.

Cal-Wheat lead-off hitter Addy Widel was hit by a pitch and took second on a groundout before scoring on a Plainsmen error to give the Warriors an early lead.

Belle Plaine came right back, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the first and knotting things up on a bases-loaded walk.

The next batter slammed a double to plate two runs, but a Plainsman — representing a potential third run — was thrown out at home, ending the inning with Cal-Wheat down 3-1.

The Warriors cut into their deficit immediately. Alyssa McElmeel opened the second with a single, while Taylor Jacobsen and Raven Knoche both walked to load the bases. A groundout, meanwhile, brought in McElmeel to pull the Warriors within a run.

The margin, though, grew back to two when Belle Plaine used a lead-off walk, a passed ball and two groundouts to score their own run in the bottom of the second.

It was still a 4-2 game when the Warriors came to the plate in the fourth.

McElmeel again led off the inning and again came up with a single. Jacobsen sacrificed her over to second, while Knoche walked.

The Plainsmen got McElmeel out at third on a fielder’s choice for a second out, but senior Grace Elvert doubled, plating both Knoche and Widel to tie things at 4-4.

The next batter, Kaylie Wilhelm, followed with her own hit to score Elvert from second, and the Warriors were back in front.

The hosts, though, had one more answer, knocking a two-out, two-run single to left and scoring a third run on a passed ball.

That made it 7-5 and Belle Plaine tacked on a final run in the sixth to finish off its win.

McElmeel went 3-for-3 at the plate, while Elvert had two hits — including a double — and drove in two runs (Widel scored twice).

The Warriors earned their game with the Plainsmen by winning Monday’s postseason opener with GMG (Garwin).

Already up 2-1, Cal-Wheat broke things open in the third and fourth innings, scoring five runs in the former frame and six in the latter to wrap up a 13-1 victory in four innings.

Cal-Wheat loaded the bases without a hit to start the third — Wilhelm and Alison Boeckmann both walked, while Isabel Shockey was hit by a pitch — before Addison Luepker slugged a two-run single.

Kiah Widel and McElmeel added RBI hits of their own and teamed for a double steal that scored the former to make it 7-1 Warriors.

The lead continued to balloon in the fourth.

Wilhelm opened the frame with a single, stole second and scored on a Boeckmann single, and the Warriors loaded the bases as Shockey walked and Luepker was hit by a pitch.

Jacobsen was plunked by a pitch as well to bring in a run, while Shockey scored on a wild pitch.

A walk reloaded the bases and the Warriors scored another run on a groundout before Elvert helped Cal-Wheat invoke the mercy rule with her two-run double to deep center.

The Warriors, who bow out at 17-21, had 10 hits — three of them from Elvert, who also drove in a team-high three runs. McElmeel added two hits, while Wilhelm, Boeckmann, Shockey, Luepker, and K. Widel all scored twice (Luepker drove in two runs as well).

A. Widel allowed just one hit and one run, both coming in the first inning. The freshman retired 11 of the final 12 batters she faced and struck out eight overall.