The mantra for the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights Wednesday in the first round of the Section 2AA softball playoffs was, "let's play two" and they did.  The Knights held on to defeat Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 9-8 in the play-in game before succumbing to top seed St. Peter 12-0 in 5 innings.

Knights Head Coach Carrie Groth told POWER 96 before the game during the Milo Peterson Ford keys a good start would go a long way in helping them win.  Kenyon-Wanamingo opened the game with a 5 run first inning.  They had a 9-1 lead going into the bottom of the 5th and had to hold plus get a little help from the Thunderbirds.

In the top of the first after a ground out sophomore center fielder Shayley Ferguson walked.  Sophomore first baseman Hayley Lerfald came to the plate and on the first pitch just missed a home run as the ball hit the fence on the fly in right center scoring Ferguson.  Junior shortstop Morgan Schaefer cracked a single to left field.  During the Emma Berquam at bat Schaefer stole second base and Lerfald scored on a wild pitch from G-F-W freshman starter Brooklyn Werner.  Berquam was walked and junior second baseman Karlie Hodgman was walked to load the bases before junior left fielder Madi Luebke connected for a two RBI double.  At the end of the inning 10 people batted, there were 4 hits and the Knights had a 5-0 lead.

Berquam had to sit during that long inning and it showed.  After a ground out to start the bottom of the first a walk was earned by Jaeden Nachreiner.  Following a fielder's choice cleanup hitter and shortstop Jordan Rettig had a single.  The next batter was hit by a pitch.  Score at the end of one was Kenyon-Wanamingo 5  Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 1.

Werner was lifted after the first inning.  The freshman right handed pitcher threw 39 pitches in the inning, 20 strikes.  Sophomore Dana Pioske was in the pitching circle next for G-F-W.  In the second inning following a ground out to start the inning Lerfald crunched her second double on a 1-0 count.  The ball was stroked to right center one hop to the fence.  Schaefer connected for a single placing runners at the corners.  During a strikeout Schaefer stole second base.  Hodgman hit a ball that resulted in an error allowing two runs to score and she ended up at third base.  A throw over the first baseman's head ended up going out of the field of play so they sent Hodgman back to second.

It was 7-1 Knights through three innings.  In the top of the fourth K-W had Ferguson lead off with a single.  Following a ground out Schaefer stroked a single scoring Ferguson and was able to go to second on an error.

In the top of the fifth inning Hodgman started with a single.  Following a ground out and strikeout number nine hitter and right fielder junior Ellie Benson was safe on an error that allowed Hodgman to score.  Going into the bottom of the 5th inning the Knights were up 9-1.

In the bottom of the fifth inning the Thunderbirds exploded with 6 runs thanks to three hits including two doubles and 3 walks.  Berquam somehow found the energy to strike out the last two batters of the inning, but G-F-W was right back in the game.

Kenyon-Wanamingo had one out singles by Lerfald and Luebke but didn't score in the sixth or seventh inning.

In the bottom of the seventh inning Berquam recorded her 9th strikeout to start the inning.  Sophomore Baleigh Peterson connected for a single and was wild pitched to second base.  Senior first baseman April Ramirez had a single.  During the at bat of senior Lisette Guzman, Peterson scored on a wild pitch and it was 9-8.  Guzman hit the ball back to the pitcher and Ramirez was thrown out at the plate trying to score. Down to their last out Guzman on the next pitch tried to steal second base and Knights catcher junior Sydney Burow threw her out to end the game.

Berquam finished the game throwing 145 pitches, 88 for strikes with 9 strikeouts, 5 walks, 7 hits allowed.  The lone senior Knights player joined Lerfald and Schaefer to be named our Held Bus Service of Kenyon players of the game.

Berquam had to be tired after her 145 pitch effort and only had about a 20 minute rest between games.

In the second game the top seed St. Peter team jumped on some first pitches and took advantage of two walks to score 7 runs on six hits.

Saints pitcher senior McKenzie Brey threw a perfect game with 62 total pitches thrown, 43 strikes.  She collected 8 strikeouts.

St. Peter added five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to secure the win.  Berquam was our Held Bus Knight of the second game.

She threw 97 pitches, 58 for strikes with four strikeouts, 3 walks, 15 hits in the game.

Berquam threw a combined 242 pitches, 146 strikes on the day.

11 days previous Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop defeated Kenyon-Wanamingo in a tournament 12-4.  It was the third game of the tournament and the Knights coaches said Berquam had to throw all three games.

St. Peter will host St. Clair-Loyola Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at Jefferson Park in St. Peter.  #8 seed St. Clair-Loyola defeated #9 seed Sibley East.

Other games in Section 2AA Thursday at 5:00 p.m. Cannon Falls goes to New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.  #11 seed Belle Plaine who upset #6 Maple River goes to #3 seed Tri-City United for a noon game and #7 seed Jordan is at #2 seed LeSeuer-Henderson at Noon.


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