Errors doom MVL in loss to Springfield

File photo by Steve Muscatello Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Stephanie Dalueg drives a pitch during a recent game at MVL.

SPRINGFIELD — If a team isn’t careful, errors can definitely play the spoiler.

No. 9 seed Minnesota Valley Lutheran found that out the hard way in a win-or-go-home Section 2A playoff softball game against Springfield on Tuesday.

The No. 8-seeded Tigers took advantage of three MVL errors in the bottom of the seventh to complete a 4-3 comeback victory. They will now move on to play the No.1-seeded Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s on Thursday in Sleepy Eye.

Springfield started the bottom of the seventh inning off with Casandra Graff reaching on a throwing error to first. A bunt single by Briana Schmidt moved Graff to second and kept the inning going with two Springfield runners on.

Kaylie Windschitl then reached on another error before the Chargers got their first out of the inning on an infield fly. A drop in left field allowed Brittany Rogotzke to reach on an error and Graff to score the tying run.

The Tigers then completed their comeback after a sac-fly to right off the bat of Taylor Augustin scored Schmidt.

Up until the seventh inning, the Chargers didn’t commit a single error.

“We started out with that [errors], and it’s always hard to come back from that,” MVL head coach Barb Leopold said. “[Springfield] had some nice hits, I can’t take that away from them … that’s just the name of the game. It’s the little things that make the difference.”

The Tigers trailed 3-0 until they added two runs in the sixth inning after a two-run single by Mya Mickelson, who finished 2 for 3.

“We knew we needed to keep our weight back,” Mickelson said. “This is kind of a slower pitcher we faced, and we were struggling the first innings. But our coach was just preaching to keep our weight back and fire it, and that’s what I did.”

Up until that two-run single by Mickelson, MVL’s Stephanie Dalueg was breezing past Springfield with one of the best game’s she’s pitched all year. Dalueg finished with 10 strikeouts, while allowing three walks and five hits for four runs, two of them being earned.

“I told her, too, that this was the best game I’ve seen her [Dalueg] pitch ever,” Leopold said. “She was very confident and just really had control of the batters — not just the ball, but the batters. That’s really important.”

Rogotzke got the win for Springfield, allowing six hits and two walks for three runs. She added two strikeouts.

Springfield also got a double from Samantha Richert in the fifth.

MVL added its first two runs in the fourth inning after an error by the shortstop allowed the ball to make its way into the outfield. MVL added its third run in the sixth after an RBI groundout by Grace Bauer scored Grace Peterson.

MVL was led by Lexi Fischer, who was 2 for 4 with a double. Peterson also added a hit and scored a run for the Chargers.

The Tigers have a tough challenge ahead of them in St. Mary’s, but Mickelson said that her team is keeping their confidence up and will be ready for Thursday.

“They’re [St. Mary’s] a good team, they have very strong hitters, but I think we have a strong defense,” Mickelson said. “We’ve got to keep our confidence up and go in with a good mindset.”

MVL ends it season with a 4-11 record, while the Tigers move to 8-11 with the win.