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Bottom of the order blistered play-in ball

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With the Pirates falling short on their last three attempts at the regional play-ins, the girls’ fastpitch team felt the pressure Monday as they took on Enderlin-Maple Valley.

The top four batters went 2-12, so the bottom of the order came through to lead the No. 3-seeded Pirates to their first trip back to regionals since 2015, said coach Mike Loll.

Jayden Campbell, Mary Rupp and Madi Kemnitz — batters seven, eight and nine in the lineup — were 5-7 at the plate, responsible for all three runs that scored in the 3-1 win. That gave sophomore pitcher Madi Steffens all the cushion she needed on the mound, where she gave up one run on four hits through all seven innings. Steffens had eight strike outs and no walks, Loll said.

The Pirates had finished the season tied with Hillsboro-Central Valley for second in the sub-region. But the Burros held the tie-breaker to push the Pirates into the third seed, Loll said. Central Cass holds the No. 1 seed in the regional tournament, which started Saturday and culminates today at Thompson.

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Karen Speidel is the News-Monitor Media Managing Editor

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