The Lion softball team had played the Elmira Falcons tight in their first meetup this season, eventually losing to Elmira, 8-6, on April 27.
As such, Kris and Danielle Challburg had good reason to expect another exciting matchup for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Elmira. The first inning, though, proved problematic – to say the least.
Elmira put up eight runs in their half of the first to take a lopsided lead they’d never relinquish, and despite putting runners on base, Cottage Grove couldn’t manage to score a run and lost 10-0. The game was cut short due to the 10-run rule and a tight timeline to start game two of the doubleheader.
“I’m not sure what went wrong,” Danielle Challburg said to sum up the loss.
Though stunned by defeat in the first game, the Lions came out battling in the second. Cottage Grove plated three runs in the first inning. Elmira evened the score at 3-3 in their half of the second inning, and Cottage Grove stranded the bases loaded in the top of the third.
Elmira struck back with two runs in the bottom of the third to lead 5-3. Cottage Grove senior Kailey Cox got the fourth inning started with an infield single, and Kayla Challburg followed with a single that sent Cox to third on an Elmira overthrow. Peyton Baird smacked a double to score both Challburg and Cox and tie the game 5-5.
Elmira responded again, though, with a four-run fifth inning. The Lions plated another run in the top of the sixth, and a sacrifice fly by Baird made the score 11-7. Hailey Sowa crushed a first-pitch double in the top of the seventh and would later score on a passed ball to make the score 11-8, but Cottage Grove would get no closer.
The Challburgs were hired to helm the Lion softball squad last year, though the Covid lockdown put the 2020 season on ice. Danielle Challburg said that an early highlight to the 2021 campaign came with the Lions notching their first softball win in six years.
“That said it all; everything else is gravy,” she said. “All in all, we’re happy with our season.”
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