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Redbirds’ softball falls in extra innings

By Murray Gleffe

DE PERE – As ominous weather loomed overhead, the De Pere Redbirds’ softball team couldn’t muster up any last-second heroics and fell to Pulaski, 4-3, in eight innings April 22 at De Pere High School.

Lauren Dixon notched the win on the mound for the Red Raiders, while McKayleigh Piper took the loss for De Pere.

Rachel Kerkhoff got things going for De Pere (7-2, 5-2 FRCC) early when she drilled a triple to the warning track.

Seconds later, Kerkhoff touched home plate after a passed ball to give the Redbirds an early 1-0 lead.

De Pere added to their margin in the bottom of the third after Addisyn Pennings scored after a lead-off single.

“Jumping out on Pulaski is exactly what you want to do,” said De Pere head coach Matt Eakin. “I thought we were very aggressive at the plate early on against a very good pitcher in Dixon. We didn’t get behind the count for much of the first few innings.”

Red Raiders winning pitcher No. 25 Lauren Dixon

The Red Raiders (5-3, 4-2 FRCC) finally got their bats going and got back into the contest in the top of the fifth.

Ashlyn Szymanski opened with a single to left and advanced to third after a stolen base and wild pitch.

Brynn Egnarski singled Szymanski home to cut the Redbirds lead to 2-1.

The hits didn’t stop there.

Mackenzie Niespodzany and Peighton Agamite each laced shots to the outfield – one to center and one to left field to bring home Egnarski, knotting the score at two.

With one out in the same half inning, it appeared the Red Raiders had scored to take the lead, but the field umpire ruled a Pulaski base runner had taken off before Hannah Kreuser’s pop out was corralled.

Nonetheless, the Red Raiders notched a single run in the top of the sixth to go up 3-2.

That lead held until the final half inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, De Pere’s Paige Ravet led off with a walk and went to second a on a sacrifice bunt by Mikayla McWilliams.

Kerkhoff singled to put base runners on the corners.

After a pop out, the Redbirds were down to their last out.

With the rain slashing down, Dixon let a pitch get away and Emily Blomquist (pinch running for Ravet) came diving home for De Pere to even the score at three and force the game to extra innings.

“Our confidence was very high after scoring that tying run in the bottom of the seventh,” added Eakin. “I knew it would come down to a play on either side to decide the outcome.”

In the top of the eighth, Pulaski struck first.

Dixon cracked a double to center to lead off.

After a wild pitch, Szymanski connected on the RBI hit to put Pulaski up 4-3.

The Redbirds made it interesting in the bottom of the eighth after Piper ripped a double and courtesy runner Tramyqua Allen eventually made it to third before Dixon slammed the door on the game with a strikeout.

“It’s disappointing to lose by one run, but it’s a long season and you have to beat the best to come out on top of this conference,” Eakin said about the loss. “We’ll have another chance at them.”

Game two of the doubleheader was cancelled due to field conditions and will be rescheduled at a later date.

Box score

Pulaski: 000 021 01—4
De Pere: 101 000 10—3

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