Brandon-Evansville left looking back on 17-win season after playoff-opening loss

A few mistakes were too much to overcome against Pelican Rapids, but the Chargers looked back proudly on another winning season that included a seventh-straight Pheasant Conference championship.

The Pelican Rapids softball team celebrates its 6-3 win in the Section 6A tournament opener on June 1, 2021 as Brandon-Evansville players return to the dugout after a loss that ended the Chargers' season with a 17-4 record. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Going 17-3 through the regular season often gets a team better than the No. 4 seed in the subsection playoffs, but that’s the situation the Brandon-Evansville softball program found itself in during the Section 6A opener on Tuesday.

The Chargers hosted .500 Pelican Rapids, and the Vikings’ record might have been more a product of playing in the Heart ‘O Lakes Conference against some good Class AA programs. Pelican Rapids was too good for Brandon-Evansville to get away with some costly mistakes as the Vikings (11-10) won 6-3 and advanced to the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

The Chargers’ season ended at 17-4 as players shared hugs and tears with their coaches and teammates on the field after an emotional loss.

Taylin Kramer looks down to third base for a sign from Brandon-Evansville softball coach Kasi Sieling on June 1, 2021 against Pelican Rapids. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


“Tonight just wasn’t our night,” B-E head coach Kasi Sieling said. “They’re a very good team. They play in one heck of a tough conference, and we knew we were going to have to do things well. We had our opportunities, and we didn’t take them. But I always tell the girls, ‘Don’t let the last game, the last play, define you.’ Let’s look at all the things we accomplished and all the memories we made together. That’s what really matters.”

Pelican Rapids broke a 3-3 tie with two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Ellie Welch and Morgan Korf led off with singles before a high fly ball between third base and home was dropped as Korrie Randt charged in to try to make a play for the Chargers.

The batter was out on an infield fly rule, but the base runners broke slowly to second and third on the error. B-E freshman shortstop Kylee Dingwall got the throw at third base well in front of the lead runner, but stepped on the bag instead of tagging her.

The force play was off after the infield fly rule, and the runners were safe at second and third.

Pelican Rapids got an infield single and a run-scoring ground out to take a 5-3 lead.

Brandon-Evansville third baseman Korrie Randt can't quite handle the throw as a Pelican Rapids base runner slides safely into the bag on June 1, 2021. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

There were a few B-E miscues that ended opportunities for the Chargers or helped the Vikings. One B-E runner was tagged out walking from second to first base in the late innings after mistakenly thinking a ground ball behind her was foul. It was part of a double play after the Vikings had thrown to first base for the initial 4-3 putout.


“I think our age showed,” Sieling said. “It’s some of those little things where we really haven’t played in a lot of really close games with tough competition this year. Some of that showed. We just had some mental miscues and that instinct wasn’t there.”

Brandon-Evansville senior Mikenna Pattrin delivers a pitch during the first inning on June 1, 2021. Pattrin went all seven innings from the circle for the Chargers in the 6-3 loss to Pelican Rapids. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Chargers’ senior pitcher Mikenna Pattrin matched up with Vikings’ ace Madi Tollerud. Both pitchers went all seven innings, and Pattrin threw well enough to give her team a chance.

Brandon-Evansville led 2-0 in the first inning when Taylin Kramer scored on a wild pitch, and Dingwall drove in a run on a ground out. The Vikings used two walks, a wild pitch, an error and a single to tie the game at two in the top of the second.

Tollerud settled in from there. The righthander allowed just one unearned run over the final six innings as she mixed her pitches and kept the Chargers off balance.

Pelican Rapids pitcher Madi Tollerud goes into her delivery during the seventh inning on June 1, 2021 in Brandon. Tollerud pitched a complete game to earn the win for the Vikings in a 6-3 final. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)


“She threw hard. Her pitch location was really good,” Sieling said. “Even though she struggled early, she really found her groove. She kept the girls on their toes and really mixed things up. She’s one of the better pitchers we saw this year.”

Brandon-Evansville was left looking back on a memorable season. The Chargers averaged a North-subsection-best 10.1 runs per game and hit .348 as a team through the regular season. Sydney Schaefer (.500 AVG), Bailey Schaefer (.636), Kramer (.375), and Mikenna Pattrin (.400) were all regulars in the lineup that hit well over .300.

Brandon-Evansville senior Bailey Schaefer looks in from third base as the pitch is delivered against Pelican Rapids on June 1, 2021. Schaefer hit over .600 this season with 32 RBIs and 37 runs scored in 19 games. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Bailey Schaefer had a team-high seven home runs, 32 RBIs and 35 runs scored in 18 games played entering the playoffs. Sydney Schaefer (31 runs), Mikenna Pattrin (30 RBIs, 25 runs) and Kiley Lund (23 RBIs) were big run producers, as well.

Morgan Bitzan was one of four seniors with Bailey Schaefer, Pattrin and Randt who helped lead another talented group. Bitzan had a walk and a single at the plate on Tuesday, and made a lot of plays at second base in her final game in a Chargers uniform.

“I’m very proud of my team,” Bitzan said. “I just started this year. I’m proud of what every girl on this team has accomplished, from the ones cheering like I was my freshman and sophomore year, or if they played in the field with me. I’m beyond proud of these girls, and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to accomplish when I come back and visit next year.”

With 17 wins and a seventh straight Pheasant Conference championship, there was plenty to look back on and be proud of.


“To win a seventh conference championship in a row is a big deal,” Sieling said. “Korrie, our third baseman, her sister was a senior the first year (of that run). It shows all the players we’ve cycled through, and these players have really bought into our program. They played hard, and they had a lot of fun. They worked through some quarantines and other things that this season threw at us. There’s way more positives to take out of this season than anything.”

PELICAN RAPIDS 020 012 1 - 6 7 2

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE 200 010 0 - 3 4 2

B-E PITCHING - Mikenna Pattrin - L, 7IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 7SO

B-E OFFENSE - Taylin Kramer - 1-4; Bailey Schaefer - 1-3, 2 runs; Kylee Dingwall - 1-3, RBI; Morgan Bitzan - 1-2

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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