An Elk River softball team, Sunshine Depot/Elk Agency Insurance-Tyler Hemmesch/Xtreme Detail, placed first in a national qualifier for Class EE on July 7-8 at Cambridge.
The victory qualified them for the MSF state tournament Aug 10-12 in Rogers and the NSF North Amercian Championships set for Aug. 31 through Sep. 2, location to be determined.
The team picked Matt Schleppenbach and Ross Orrock as tournament MVP’s. Schleppenbach was the table-setter offensively at leadoff and made several difficult plays at shortstop, including an over-the-shoulder catch of a blooper. Orrock went 14-for-20 with several big extra-base hits and was solid at first base.
“We rely on our defense to be the difference-maker in tournament play,” said pitcher Mike Wollak. “We have very skilled infielders and athletic outfielders with great arms.
“We enjoy ‘stealing’ outs on foul-outs, making diving plays, turning double plays, and especially our outfielders throwing out baserunners. Anytime we can do that, it really gets us fired up and gets momentum rolling our way.”
They beat Studweisers 16-4, with Travis Kreuter’s three-run homer helping to break it open, and Schleppenbach and Tony Sullivan turning multiple double plays.
They beat The Buzz 8-2 with Wollak having the unusual stat of seven put-outs at pitcher.
They beat Patriot Laners 19-7, sparked by James Hansen’s three-run homer and Tony Jarmoluk catching a fly and throwing out a runner at home.
With two chances to win once in the finals, they lost to Mimi’s 9-5, leaving 10 runners in base, but won the finale 8-2 with tight defense and a pair of two-run doubles, by Orrock and Chad Christian.
The lineup was Wollak at pitcher, Evan Johnson and Luke Mulvaney catching, Ross Orrock at first, Sullivan or Jared Orrock at second, Kreuter at third, Schleppenbach at short, and Hansen, Jarmoluk, Pat McCarthy and Christian left to right in the outfield.