FORT DODGE - Oh how the fortunes turned for Estherville Lincoln Central.
After suffering through a long inning against top-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the opening game of the Class 3A State Tournament, the Midgets got on the other side of the coin in the consolation semifinals.
Trailing 5-3 entering the sixth inning, ELC scored eight runs on six hits with one big Monticello error to lead 11-5. While the Midgets didn't have another baserunner the rest of the game, pitcher Liz Brashear and the ELC defense shut down the Panthers the final two innings.
"I'm glad to be on the other side of a long inning," said ELC coach Megan Anderson. It brought up our confidence and took the pressure off both our defense and Liz."
Brashear earned the win as she gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits with no strikeouts and five walks.
"Coming in, coach Anderson said they wouldn't call any strikes above the wait," said Brashear. "They want everyone to hit."
Brashear helped her own cause by going 3-4 at the plate with one RBI.
"It seems like I always strike out the first at-bat, but the next at-bat I knew where she was going to throw it," said Brashear. "I just try to get the ball in play and boost my confidence and my teammates."
Monticello scored first with three runs in the second inning. The Panthers had four of their seven hits as all runs were earned.
Offensively, ELC only had two baserunners the first three innings, a pair of one-out singles by Carson Gjerde and Emily Kirchner in the first inning.
But Kirchner led off the fourth inning with a single to right and stole second. Brashear singled to left as Kirchner went to third. Caitlyn Clayton then lined out to the pitcher Erin Hosch, but Kirchner scored on a throwing error by Hosch.
Megan Jensen continued the inning with a single to left. Rachel Bates then bunted and reached on a throwing error by the third baseman. Jensen and courtesy runner Jordan Phillips both scored, but Bates was tagged out trying to reach second.
But ELC had tied the game at 3-3.
Monticello retook the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. They were helped by one of ELC's two errors in the game.
ELC big sixth inning started with one out as Kirchner flew out to shortstop.
Brashear, Caitlyn Clayton and Megan Jensen hit consecutive singles with courtesy runner Phillips scoring on Jensen's hit. Bates reached on a fielder's choice as Monticello tried to get Clayton going home. Clayton was safe at the plate. With runners at second and third, Schacherer singled to left to bring in Jensen.
Kristen King was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Monticello coach Tiffany Rave then sent in Hannah Thompson to relieve Hosch. Dahl promptly recorded an RBI single that scored Bates.
The biggest blow of the inning came after Gjerde popped up to the catcher for the second out. Kirchner hit a ball down the right field line. Andrea Bone slid into the catch, but the ball popped out of her glove and back toward the fence. That cleared the bases as Kirchner went to third. ELC completed the scoring with Brashear hitting a single up the middle to bring Kirchner home.
That seemed to take the life out of Monticello. Their only base runner the final two innings was a two-out single by Allison Krause in the bottom of the sixth.
"It was a well-played game," said ELC senior ELC Emily Kirchner. "Today we were really focused and ready to go."
For ELC, Jensen finished 2-3 with an RBI; Kirchner finished 2-4 while Gjerde, Clayton, Bates and Schacherer each went 1-4.
ELC000 308 0 - 11 11 2
Monticello`030 110 0 - 5 7 4
WP - Liz Brashear. LP - Erin Hosch.
E - Bates, Rache 2; McCormick, S; Hosch, Erin; Bone, Andrea 2. DP - E-LC 1. LOB - E-LC 3; Monticello 7. HBP - King, Kriste; Lubben, Lael. SH - Bates, Rachel; Kraus, Allis; Bohlken, Kor; Hosch, Erin. SB - Kirchner, Em; Schacherer.