As Hailey Hurlbut stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning, her teammates and coaches were asking her to “just end it.” Hurlbut connected and drove a ball to center field.
“I was expecting a riseball,” Hurlbut said. “I was waiting and I just wanted that perfect pitch to end the game. Everybody kept telling me, 'you're going to hit a home run,’ and it happened.”
As the ball cleared the fence, the Goodhue dugout erupted and met Hurlbut at home plate to celebrate her extra-inning walk off home run that gave the Wildcats a 3-2 win over Byron on Wednesday.
“We haven't had the lead against the big schools yet,” said Goodhue head coach Mark Opsahl. “So it was nice to get that and get that mojo. 'Hey, we're a pretty good team too.'”
Celebrating a birthday as well, Hurlbut’s home run ended a quick-paced, eight-inning game. In total, 13 batters reached base safely between the two teams combined. Sophomore Torrie Rehder pitched all eight innings and settled down after a tough second inning.
Byron’s Taylor O’Donnel and Heather Nordlund each had a base hit to start the Bears half of the second inning. O’Donnel came around to score, but Nordlund was stranded on third base.
Rehder didn’t allow more than one baserunner per inning until the sixth.
Trailing 1-0, the Wildcats were starved for offense themselves. In the fourth, Rehder led off with a double, then stole third base. Two batters later, Hannah Gadient gave Goodhue the lead with a two-run home run to left center.
“(Gadient’s home run) boosted our confidence a little bit more,” Hurlbut said. “We were kind of drained from being down. She popped back up.”
In the sixth inning, the Bears tied the game at 2. The Wildcats had a chance to win the game with Kate Opsahl on third base and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. A strikeout ended the seventh and the game remained tied 2-2 into the eighth until Hurlbut’s home run.
Opsahl said the win could spring a string of momentum heading into the weekend.
“Whether we're up one or they tied it, always think how we're going to help the team the next play,” Opsahl said. “We could have rolled over and said, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ They didn’t. They rallied and put pressure on their defense.”
The Cannon Falls softball team defeated Goodhue 6-3 on Tuesday.
After Goodhue scored first in the third inning, Cannon Falls answered with three runs to take a 3-1 lead. The Bombers never relinquished the lead as the team scored one run in the fourth and two in the fifth while holding the Wildcats to two runs in the final four innings.
Bella Davisson went 2-for-3 which included a double and scored twice for the Bombers. Kaitlin Otterness had two hits and Kayley Frenette scored two runs. Abby Breuer was a force on the mound, striking out a whopping 19 batters in the complete-game victory.
Torrie Rehder led the Wildcat offense with two hits. She also struck out five in six innings on the mound.
Randolph 19, Glenville-Emmons 0
Randolph scored at least two runs in every inning on its way to a 19-0 win over Glenville-Emmons.
The Rockets plated four runs in the first inning, seven in the second, six in the third and two in the fourth.
Megan Erickson had a game-high four hits for the Rockets. Andrea Splichal led the Rockets with four RBI. Morgyn Otte struck out seven batters in four innings.
Other Area Scores
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 14, Kenyon-Wanamingo 0