SECTION 3A SOFTBALL: Wabasso splits pair of games against KMS, MACCRAY

Photo by Sam Thiel Wabasso’s Sarah Franta fires a pitch during their Section 3A tournament game against MACCRAY on Saturday. The Rabbits fell to KMS 4-2 before bouncing back with a 5-3 victory over the Wolverines.

MARSHALL – After opening their playoff quest with a pair of victories, the No. 3S Wabasso softball team looked to continue its early momentum Saturday against No. 1 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg. The Rabbits would fall just short to the Saints, 3-2, and drop into the consolation bracket of the Section 3A tournament.

In need of a win in order to keep its season alive, Wabasso squared off against No. 4N MACCRAY. In a back-and-forth battle, the Rabbits showed their resiliency in the middle innings and would earn a 5-3 victory over the Wolverines to extend their playoff hopes another day.

Wabasso coach Tiffany Eichten said they focused on executing the little things right against the Wolverines and allow themselves time to battle back.

“We just talked about doing the little things,” coach Eichten said. “The ballgames are seven innings for a reason, so even when we got flustered there for a little bit, the big thing was to remember that it’s a seven-inning game so there’s time to come back.”

The Rabbits were able to get a quick start against MACCRAY, with Cora Eichten and Megan Rothmeier connecting on singles before Jenna Frank brought in a run on a groundout to give Wabasso an early 1-0 lead.

MACCRAY answered back in the third inning, using a pair of singles to get baserunners aboard before an error by Wabasso led to both runners coming across. The Wolverines then got an RBI single on the ensuing at-bat to take a 3-1 lead.

Wabasso wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, responding in their next trip to the plate. Sarah Franta led things off with a single before Rothmeier reached on an error. After both baserunners advanced on a stolen base, Frank stepped up and smacked a single to plate both runs and tie things back up at 3-3 after three innings.

The Rabbits then added a run in the next couple of frames, as Franta smacked an RBI double to right in the fourth and Kelsey Frank reaching on an infield single that brought in another score in the fifth to extend Wabasso’s lead to 5-3.

Jenna Frank led the way for the Rabbits with a 1 for 2 day at the plate with three RBI while Franta added a pair of hits and an RBI and Rothmeier had a couple of hits as well.

“I think just being aggressive and going after their pitchers was really good for us and just knowing that we had baserunners on gave us more motivation to be more aggressive and get them in,” Jenna Frank said.

Franta earned the victory in the circle, going seven innings while allowing three runs on nine hits and striking out seven.

Wabasso will look to keep its season going on Tuesday against No. 2N Lac qui Parle Valley at 5 p.m. in Marshall.

Coach Eichten said their biggest takeaway will be to continue to play with a lot of energy and play a complete team game.

“We really just need to come out with a ton of energy because when we come out with energy, we’re a whole different ballteam,” coach Eichten said. “It’s seven innings, so we can’t let any certain play or anything get in our way.”