Rebels’ rally falls short

Published 8:26 pm Friday, April 20, 2012

Southland's Haley Kiefer steps up to try and tag Plainview-Elgin-Millville's Catherine DeVetter has she tries scoring in the top of the first inning Friday in Rose Creek. -- Eric Johnson/

ROSE CREEK — After falling behind by seven runs early, the Rebels didn’t have much trouble getting back into the game against the Bulldogs.

But it was tying the game that gave Southland problems as it lost 8-7 in a softball game to Plainview-Elgin-Millville (2-3 overall, 1-2 Three Rivers) in Rose Creek Friday.

Southland (1-3 overall, 1-1 Three Rivers) had two chances to tie the game, but Kelli Smith grounded out to end the sixth inning with runners at the corners and Haley Kirkpatrick grounded out with a runner on second to end the fifth inning.

Southland third baseman Brooke Yunker looks up to tag Plainville-Elgin-Millville's Kourtney McNallan as she comes back to third during the first inning Friday afternoon in Rose Creek.

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Southland’s struggles at the plate started early as their first seven hitters were retired in order.

“We just came out a little slow with hitting and that’s what we’ve been working on in practice,” said Southland senior Lindsey Bottema, who was 2-for-3 at the plate. “It’ll come with experience when we get in a few more games.”

PEM jumped out to an 8-1 lead early in the game as Southland starting pitcher Haley Kiefer, a sophomore, struggled with control and didn’t make it past the second inning.

“(Haley) just didn’t have the feeling today,” Southland head coach Greg Schulte said. “She pitched pretty well against Blooming Prairie, but she struggled a little today. But the girls never gave up and I was pleased with that.”

After falling down seven runs, the Rebels scored on an error and a pair of wild pitches in the fifth and the finally got their bats going in the sixth when Smith blasted a double to center to score two runs and Hilary Bottema drilled a clutch, two-out RBI-single up the middle.

Smith helped keep the Rebels in the game in a relief pitching appearance as she allowed just one earned run in six innings of work.

“Kelli’s doing very well,” Schulte said. “She keeps it around the plate and she doesn’t give up very many walks. With Haley (Kiefer), we just have to get her confidence up there.”

PEM 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 — 8 10 1

Southland 0 0 1 3 3 0 0 — 7 6 1

Southland pitching: Haley Kiefer (L), 1 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 ER, 2 K; Kelli Smith, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 K

Southland hitting: Kiefer, 0-for-4; Lindsey Bottema, 2-for-3, R, SB, BB; Brooke Yunker, 1-for-4, double, R; Kelli Smith, 1-for-4, double, 2 RBIs, R; Celina Yunker, 0-for-3, R, BB; Megan Mullenbach, 0-for-4, R; Hilary Bottema, 1-for-4, RBI; Haley Kirkpatrick, 0-for-1, 2 R, 2 BBs; Shelbi Vlasaty, 1-for-2, BB, SB