Otters stumble, but still alivePublished 10:52am Friday, May 31, 2013
FRAZEE — Ominous clouds loomed in the distance as the Fergus Falls softball team took the field Thursday for the Section 8AA championship.
The weather forshadowed what was in store for the Otters as they took on the Hawley Nuggets, a gloomy day and a rain delay.
Hawley, a 11-6 winner over Thief River Falls early in the day, needed to defeat the Otters twice to advance to state and started out with a 6-0 win.
Fans lined the fences, in both chairs and cars, to watch a battle of the last two previous section title holders.
The Nuggets would jump out to a six-run lead after two an a half innings of play. Fergus Falls Head Coach Renee Erickson believed that the key to victory for her team was to attack Hawley’s pitching and play sound defense. These two things did not come to pass as the Otters struggled to connect with pitches and committed fielding errors allowing Hawley to take advantage early on.
Fergus pitcher Sadie Knudson was saddled with the loss as she went seven innings allowing five walks and four earned.
Devonie Smith led the Fergus hitters going two for three in the game.
In game two, a change in momentum and weather would leave the game at a standstill.
The muggy and sometimes unbearable heat would give way to gusts and a chill in the air as fans grabbed umbrellas and rain coats; preparing for the oncoming storm.
Knudson, with renewed vigor, breezed through the opening inning. The spark carried over to the Otters on offense as Amber Boese hit a sacrifice fly to score Taylor King giving Fergus its first lead.
Hawley looked as if it had poked a sleeping bear as the Fergus defense mowed down the Nugget hitters through two and a half.
But that is when the rain came.
A shower stalled the game, leaving fans to questioned whether the game would be finished as the rain and darkness crept onto the field.
After over 30 minutes of inactivity, the two teams took the field once again, but something was a miss. The once lively Otters saw the Nuggets use the delay to recharge as it sat down the Fergus hitters quickly in the bottom of the third.
Hawley’s offense would resurface as back-to-back doubles tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth. The weather reared its ugly head a second time as the rain pounded the field.
The umpires attempted to push the game, in hopes of a break in the rain, but after two Knudson pitches hit the dirt far from the plate, the game was suspended.
The game will resume at 1 p.m. Friday with the Nuggets batting with one out and a runner at third. The winner of the game will advance to next week’s state tournament held at Caswell Park in North Mankato.