Walk-off win greets Steffen in Lady Bulldog coaching debut
LE MARS — The Le Mars Community softball team gifted new head coach Keely Steffen a walk-off 5-4 victory over Sioux City East on Tuesday in the season opener.
“I just saw a lot of good things of them coming out here,” Steffen said. “Even though we were down, we put in a lot of work. We started hitting the ball and we came out with a win, so that was a great job on their part.”
It wasn’t the greatest start for Le Mars as they got down 4-0 before finally finding a way to string together a few hits in the sixth inning.
Libby Leraas got the rally going with a double and Alivia Milbrodt reached on an error. The first two runs came home as Payton Marienau knocked a single to left field and advanced to second on the throw. Morgan Marienau followed with an infield base hit as she barely beat out the throw. Two batters later, Avery Pratt tied the game with a 2 RBI single which dropped into right-center field.
Steffen said her players finally got into rhythm against the opposing pitcher.
“At first we were struggling timing her, but towards the end we really got a hold of things,” Steffen said.
East had a chance to retake the lead in the top of the seventh, getting back-to-back one-out singles, but an unassisted put-out at third base to get the lead runner and a fly out to center field left runners stranded on first and second.
Le Mars had the momentum on their side and capitalized on an error by the second baseman as Leraas reached base. Payton Marienau reached with a single and Morgan Marienau brought home pinch runner Calla Langel for the winning run on a base hit to left.
Steffen, who played for Woodbury Central and Morningside College, had prior coaching experience as an assistant at Kingsley-Pierson and Sioux City West. She described her philosophy as wanting to see good attitude and effort from her players.
“Those are two things that we always discuss every day because if you bring a good attitude and good effort to anything in your life, like your job or school, you will be successful,” Steffen said. “It came out tonight with our great attitude and our efforts towards the end of the game.”
East took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as they loaded the bases and an errant pickoff throw from the catcher to third base ended in the outfield to allow a run home. East reloaded the bases, but Milbrodt got out of the inning by getting a strikeout looking against Kiahna Jenkins.
Two more runs came home in the third on an RBI single and an RBI double from Maddie Hase and Alexy Jones. An RBI ground out in the sixth pushed the Black Raiders to their 4-0 lead.
Le Mars will play East again as part of a varsity doubleheader on the road July 9 for the MRAC standings.
East 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 4
Le Mars 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 5
Le Mars: Hits- 9; Walks- 2; 2B- Leraas; 3B- None; HR- None; RBI- P. Marienau 2, Pratt 2, M. Marienau 1; Pitching: Alivia Milbrodt (W)- 7 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks.