Only a Glimpse Needed for Denfeld-East Rivalry

John Gilbert

Duluth East’s Maggie Robinson hit a pop-up toward second with two out in the seventh inning,  but when the ball was dropped, an appeal led the umpires to rule interference on the  East baserunner -- third out, Denfeld wins 10-9. Photo credit: John Gilbert
Duluth East’s Maggie Robinson hit a pop-up toward second with two out in the seventh inning, but when the ball was dropped, an appeal led the umpires to rule interference on the East baserunner -- third out, Denfeld wins 10-9. Photo credit: John Gilbert

During a break in the UMAC baseball tournament at Wade Stadium, I remembered that Denfeld and East were playing a high school softball game just outside those brick walls, on the adjoining softball complex. So I looked out the doorway and saw that the game was 10-9 in Denfeld’s favor and there were two out in the top of the seventh inning.

It was a short hustle to get across the parking lot, and I made it, just as the Hunters walked an East player intentionally to load the bases. Maggie Robinson strode to the plate, and I pondered how lucky I was to see at least the deciding play at the end of such a dramatic game. I had no idea.
After a few foul balls heightened the drama even more, Robinson hit a soft pop-up toward second base. It was obvious the game was ending, but the Greyhound runners all took off, hoping for a break. Incredibly, the second baseman dropped the ball, allowing the tying run to score for a 10-10 tie, and forcing extra innings.

Ah, but the Denfeld coaches are sharp, and they protested the call, because in high school softball, the rule says that any time a baserunner causes a fielder to alter her course in pursuit of a fielding play, the play shall be ruled interference and the batter declared out.
The umps talked it over, and promptly ruled that the baserunner had caused enough of an interruption to earn an interference call, an out was ordered, and Denfeld walked off the field a 10-9 winner.

 

UMD senior Danielle Kohlway, at left, cleared the last hurdle and raced to victory in the  100-meter hurdles to win the NSIC event and qualify for the NCAA. Photo credit: John Gilbert
UMD senior Danielle Kohlway, at left, cleared the last hurdle and raced to victory in the 100-meter hurdles to win the NSIC event and qualify for the NCAA. Photo credit: John Gilbert

Kohlway Earns Spot in NCAA Track Meet

One of the neatest things that happens in spring sports is the occurrence of outdoor track meets. For a scrambling reporter trying to catch up on a little bit of everything between baseball, softball and assorted other events, it also provides an opportunity to meet and talk to coaches and officials you might not otherwise see.

So despite the hectic weekend of the UMAC baseball tournament, this also was the first time UMD had ever been host to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference outdoor track meet — a prestigious event for any team to host.
And after the turmoil in the UMD track program over the past year, with the forced leave and then firing of Joanna Warmington as women’s track coach, and the subsequent lawsuit that is in the process of coming UMD’s way, I thought this would be my perfect opportunity to say hello to UMD men’s coach Paul Nisius by spending a little time at the track meet his school was host to. 

Besides, I’d get to see some genuinely exciting sports events. If you haven’t seen a scholastic track meet, get out there when the Section 7AA or 7A track meets are held. It is guaranteed to be a dayful of entertainment.
So I was off to Malosky Stadium. The meet had already started its first day, with some preliminary and some final events. Runners, jumpers, throwers and relayers were all gathered behind their game-faces.
Among the events that attracted me were the preliminaries for the 100-meter hurdles, women and then men. UMD is so potent in hockey — which is outside the NSIC domain — and football and volleyball, that you get to feeling sorry for schools like Mary, which don’t seem competitive enough to match their enthusiasm. But fear not, they make up for it in track, where Mary, and Augustana, and traditional power MSU-Mankato dominate. And UMD is something of an also-ran.

Thankfully, for UMD loyalists, there is senior Danielle Kohlway, an All-American in the 100 and 200 meter hurdles, and runs on the 1,600 relay team. Sure enough, Kohlway came through in the 100 meter hurdles, three steps past the final hurdle before her foes reached the final hurdles. She won the preliminary in 13.68 seconds.

On Saturday, Kohlway came back and recorded a 13.40 in the final to qualify for the NCAA.
Mary won the women’s title with 202.5 points, to runner-up Augustana’s 117, while UMD finished fifth. In the men’s action, MSU-Mankato won for the umpteenth time — actually, the eighth consecutive — with 219 points, while Mary was second at 118. UMD placed seventh. The only negative I had at my brief stay at the NSIC track meet was that no matter how I tried, I couldn’t locate Paul Nisius, the UMD men’s track coach.  It turns out he reportedly had some personal issues to deal with and was on leave for the past week. How unfortunate, that the most prestigious event in UMD’s track history came and went, and coach Nisius missed it.