Draeger pitches

Taylor Draeger, shown in a game earlier this year, struck out seven and scattered six hits to earn the win on the mound at Litchfield beat St. James 2-1 in the Section 3AA tournament. The Dragons need one more win to qualify for the state tournament.

Emma DeWolf's single in the eighth inning drove home the winning run as Litchfield moved within a win of the state tournament with a 2-1 win over St. James Tuesday at Schwans Regional Amateur Sports Complex in Marshall.

Litchfield will meet Pipestone for the Section 3AA championship and a berth in the state tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday in Marshall. The Dragons, 18-6, have to win only once to claim the title, while Pipestone would have to beat Litchfield twice.

Junior right-hander Taylor Draeger pitched a strong game for Litchfield, scattering six hits and striking out seven.

Outside of DeWolf's winning RBI, the biggest moment for the Dragons may have come in the bottom of the seventh. St. James had runners on second and third with no outs, but the Dragons' defense came up with the plays it needed to end the threat and push the game into extra innings.

Draeger struck out the next batter for the first out of the seventh, then the Dragons turned a double play to end the inning. Sophomore Liv Holmgren caught a blooper to left field —which the St. James runner on third thought was going to fall in for a hit and headed home — and Holmgren fired to third for the threat- and inning-ending double play.

DeWolf finished the game with three hits and two RBI. She drove home Grace Braaten with the Dragons' first running with a first-inning single. Her smash to left field in the top of the eighth allowed Sydney McCann, who had walked, to score all the way from first base.

Litchfield's last state softball tournament appearance came in 1995.