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MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U GAME OF THE WEEK (SWAL Softball): Boscobel 5, Iowa–Grant 4 (8 innings)
Kinney’s walk-off single lifts Boscobel to eight-inning win over Iowa–Grant
Katie Kinney
Boscobel senior Katie Kinney lifted the Bulldogs to a 5–4 extra-inning victory over Iowa–Grant Monday afternoon with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning. (photo by Wendi Stitzer)

SWAL SOFTBALL: Boscobel 5, Iowa–Grant 4

Kinney’s walk-off single lifts Bulldogs to eight-inning win over Iowa–Grant

BOSOCBEL — Senior shortstop Katie Kinney’s one-out walk-off RBI single in the bottom of  the eighth lifted two-time defending SWAL champion Boscobel to a dramatic 5–4 victory over Iowa–Grant Monday afternoon.

The Panthers (2–2, 0–1 SWAL) scored four runs in the top of the first against two-time SWAL Player of the Year and Division 1 Mississippi State recruit Gretta Grassel and appeared on the verge of a upset.

But the Bulldogs (2–4, 1–0 SWAL), who opened the season 1–4 on a Spring Break trip to Gulf Shores, Ala., got three back in the bottom of the first — two on a two-run homer by Grassel.

Iowa–Grant opted not to pitch to Grassel the rest of the game after her first-inning blast and intentionally walked the Boscobel star in of her next four plate appearances. The strategy kept Grassel from beating the Panthers, but not the Bulldogs.

Boscobel tied the game on a safety squeeze bunt by Kinney, after IG elected to intentionally walk Graseel for the first time to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the second.

The rest of the game was a pitcher’s duel between Grassel and Iowa–Grant’s Lilly Pettit and Bentley Cutts. The only hit Cutts allowed in 31/3 innings of relief was Kinney’s game-winning single.

Grassel struck out the side in the third and fourth innings.

The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the fourth when Kenna Wallin singled and Erin Knowles reached on an error.

After a sacrifice bunt by Kennedy Seeley moved the runners to second and third, IG intentionally walked Grassel for the second time.

The strategy paid off this time as Pettit struck out Kinney and got Mackenzie Fritz to pop out to third base to end the inning.

IG again walked Grassel with one out in the sixth after Knowles moved to second on a sac bunt, and reliever Bentley Cutts got Kinney to pop out to shortstop and struck out Fritz to end the inning.

The Panthers threatened in the top of the seventh when Lexi Vavricka and Cutts had singles, but Grassel got out of the jam by getting Lakyn Holman to ground into a fielder’s choice.

After Knowles and Seeley drew back-to-back one-out walks in the bottom of the eighth, Iowa–Grant walked Grassel to load the bases. This time Kinney hit a full count pitch back up the middle into centerfield for the game-winning hit.

Lexi Vavricka opened the game with a walk and Evie Whitaker single off Grassel after Vavricka stole second base to make it 1–0.

A Boscobel error on a ground ball by Cutts plated another run, then after back-to-back strikeouts another Boscobel error allowed two more runs score scored. 

Grassel improved to 2–2 on the season, striking out 14 Panthers, while allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks in eight innings pitched.

Boscobel closed out its Spring Break trip to Gulf Shores, Ala last Wednesday with a 9–1 loss to Pisgah (Ala.) last Wednesday, one day after a 13–3 loss to McAdory (Ala.) last Tuesday.

The Bulldogs left for Alabama March 24 and returned Saturday, April 1. The trip was paid for with a calendar raffle.

“Penny Grassel, the momager and my life saver planned the entire trip as well as takes care of all the fund raising,” said Boscobel head coach Claire Walz-U’ren.

“I think the talent of teams in the south was eye opening for the team. We were really looking for us to have to face teams where Gretta isn’t averaging 15 or 16 strikeouts in hopes we could see our flaws early on and avoid last year’s playoff upset. Our team definitely thought they would float into this year on the tail of a 21–1 season and quickly realized the work we need to do. 

“But the losses aside it was a positive experience and we had a great time. We will hopefully see the benefits of the time there as we start the season. I tried to set the week up for opportunities of team bonding along with game play and practices and it was a treat to see the girls hanging out and having fun together off the field.”

Boscobel will host Cuba City today at 4:30 p.m. before traveling to Darlington Monday afternoon.

Boscobel 5, Iowa–Grant 4
(from Monday, April 3 @ Boscobel)
Iowa–Grant 400 000 00 —  4   6  4 
Boscobel 300 000 01 —  5   7  4
Leading hitters — IG: Indy Kemnitzer 2x4 (R); B: Gretta Grassel 1x1 (2RBI, R, 4BB), Katie Kinney 2x5 (2RBI, R), Cozy Wetter 2x4 9RBI). 2B — IG: Lakyn Holman.
W — Gretta Grassel (2–2, 8IP, 6H, 4R, 1ER, 14K, 3BB). L — Bentley Cutts (1–1, 3.1IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 6K, 5BB).