MVL walks off with another win

NEW ULM — A little hesitation and a throwing error to home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning was enough to lift Minnesota Valley Lutheran to a 4-3 walkoff win over Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman in nonconference softball action on Monday at MVL High School.

After Lauren Paulsen hit a leadoff single to open up the bottom of the seventh, Stephanie Dalueg singled. A wild pitch then brought Lauren Paulsen to third and pinch-runner Beth Albrecht to second.

Next up was pinch-hitter Morgan Paulsen, who grounded back to the pitcher while Lauren Paulsen hesitated off of third base before taking off for home. Lauren Paulsen then got past a tag attempt to score the winning run after a throwing error to the backstop, allowing the Chargers to move to a perfect 3-0 start this year.

Dalueg, who went 2 for 4, also pitched all seven innings for MVL, earning the complete-game win after allowing just three hits and three walks for three earned runs. She also struck out eight batters.

The senior pitcher said that she has gained more confidence this season and that she was glad to have a strong team behind her.

“I felt like I was a little bit more confident than I was last year, but I know I’ve got my defense behind me, which is really nice,” Dalueg said. “I’m really enjoying this team, we have a lot of talent.”

It wasn’t exactly easy for MVL to get on base right away, though, either. They were up against eighth-grade pitcher Mandy Pytleski, who struck out six batters and allowed seven hits and three walks.

Still, it was Dalueg who ended up ahead of Pytleski, with her team’s bats heating up just enough periodically throughout the game. Lauren

Paulsen led the Charger bats with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and an RBI, while Grace Rich and Grace Bauer added an RBI each.

Lauren Paulsen gave MVL a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single to left-center, scoring Sam Dalueg, who reached earlier on a fielder’s choice. The Jaguars grabbed their three runs in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead, with the inning being highlighted by a one-out RBI double from Lizzie Oothoudt.

The Chargers added their second run of the day in the bottom of the fourth on Rich’s RBI single before tying it in the sixth after an RBI fielder’s choice by Bauer and walking off in the bottom of the seventh.

Dalueg complimented Pytleski after the game and said that she did a good job of keeping MVL off base consistently. There was also plenty of wind that players had to deal with throughout the game, with gusts of over 30 miles per hour blowing in to home plate and towards right field.

“All props to her, she was very good,” Dalueg said of Pytleski. “She was really good at placing the ball and knowing what to do to make us not hit. She was doing fantastic, she’s got a lot of potential. I think we just were really in our heads, too, with this wind for some reason. When we were doing warmups, we all seemed a little bit jittery. I think part of it was getting off the weekend, and we had to get into it. But I think we picked it up well at the end.”

MVL travels to Hector next to take on Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart for a 5 p.m. Tomahawk Conference game on Tuesday.