The Lodi prep softball team came limping into the WIAA postseason after dropping its final five games of the regular season. But, the Blue Devils put the late-season struggles behind them and put together one of its best performances of the season in a WIAA Division 2 regional opener against host McFarland.
The sixth-seeded Lady Blue Devils gave the third-seeded Spartans all they could handle. McFarland had to rally for a 2-1 victory.
“The game against McFarland was a great representation of the hard work our kids have been putting in all season,” first-year Lodi coach Allie Taylor said. “The game was hard fought and allowed our younger kids to come up clutch in tough situations.”
The Blue Devils finished the season 6-16 overall.
The regional opener turned into a pitcher’s duel between Lodi’s Jayden Kolinski and the Spartans’ Megan Jansen.
Kolinski had a no-hitter through five innings of play.
“It was incredible to watch Jaden maintain a no hitter for six innings,” Taylor said.
Lodi had just one hit through the first five innings, but finally broke through in the top of the sixth inning.
The Blue Devils’ Katie Stoltenberg led off the top of the sixth with a double to right field. After stealing third base, she scored on a sacrifice fly by Olivia Kurt.
McFarland quickly answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Megan Jansen had the Spartans’ first hit of the game after leading off the sixth with a single. She came around to score on an error to tie the game.
Later in the bottom of the sixth, McFarland scored the game-winning run on another Blue Devil error.
The Lady Blue Devils got a single from Emma Krumpen in the top of the seventh, but they were unable to tie the game.
Lodi finished the game with four hits. Kolinski, Dylann Harrington and Krumpen had singles, while Stoltenberg had a double.
Kolinski pitched all six innings for Lodi and had 11 strikeouts and a walk. She held the Spartans to three hits.
Despite the tough ending to the season, Taylor is excited about the future of the program.
“Although it is sad to see our seniors leaving, we are excited about the future of this program and the return of many of our key role players,” Taylor said.