WELCOME - The Crusaders utilized a potent combination of power and speed on Tuesday to complete their quest to remain unbeaten in Valley Conference softball play.
Mankato Loyola parlayed eight Martin County West errors, seven walks and 14 hits - including five for extra bases - into a 13-5 league triumph over the Mavericks at the Fox Lake Sports Complex in Welcome.
"When you play good teams like Loyola, you just can't give them more than three outs per inning. If you do, they'll capitalize on those mistakes," said Martin County West mentor Darrell Ziegler. "But I was pleased with the way our girls hung in there and made a nice comeback during the latter innings."
TAGGED?OUT — Martin County West catcher Shawna Dressen (right) tags out Mankato Loyola’s Erin Murray during a rundown between third and home Tuesday during Valley Conference softball action in Welcome. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
The Crusaders, however, took advantage of four Maverick miscues during the top of the first to plate two quick runs before flexing their muscle during in the second.
Sam Larsen, hammered a leadoff double before Jessi Van Blarcom's bases-loaded triple and Aunikah Bastian's ensuing RBI double highlighted a four-run outburst en route to a 6-1 lead.
Martin County West combined two of its seven hits during the home half of the third to scratch out a solo run. Jordan Gregory legged out a one-out infield hit before circling the bases on Morgan Williamson's towering RBI double into the left-field corner.
No. 5 batter Maddie McCargar then answered quickly for Loyola during the top of the fourth by drilling a two-run double off of the center-field fence.
Maverick third baseman Morgan Williamson did limit the Crusaders' damage by combining with catcher Shawna Dressen for a defensive gem. With a runner at third, Williamson gloved a hot shot off RaeAnn Dose's bat, faked a throw across the diamond, caught Loyola's lead runner in a rundown before firing to Dressen for the tagout.
The Crusaders tacked on one run in the fifth, two more in the sixth and two in the seventh by capitalizing on seven walks.
The Mavericks, however, manufactured three runs in the last of the fifth to prevent a possible early exit from the diamond.
Kate Thiesse pounded a leadoff double before eventually scoring when Gregory's hard-hit grounder was misplayed. Rebecca Steen legged out a perfectly-deadened bunt in front of the plate before Gregory scored on a wild pitch. Steen eventually crossed the plate on Dressen's RBI single to left.
Williamson went 2-for-3 to top the Mavericks, while Molly Klima added a single.
Van Blarcom and Jordyn Strachan each went 3-for-4 to top the Crusaders' 14-hit outbreak, with Van Blarcom producing a game-high four RBIs on the strength of a triple and sacrifice fly. Bastian went 1-for-2 with three RBIs behind a double and a pair of sacrifice flies, while McCargar doubled home two runs in three at-bats.
Loyola right-hander Katie Homan allowed five runs on seven hits, struck out seven and walked three in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
MCW starting pitcher Rebecca Steen gave up nine runs - only three earned - on 12 hits, and did not record a walk or strikeout in four-plus innings to take the loss.
Gregory allowed four runs - just one earned - on two hits, issued seven walks and fanned two in three innings of relief.
Martin County West (2-2, 1-2 Valley) travels to St. Clair on Thursday for a 4:30 p.m. game.
Mankato Loyola (4-0, 4-0) plays host to Nicollet at 5 p.m. Thursday.
LOY 240 212 2 - 13 14 3
MCW 101 030 0 - 5 7 8
Katie Homan (WP) and Kenna Elert. Rebecca Steen (LP), Jordan Gregory (5) and Shawna Dressen.
LOB-MCW 8, Loyola 7. 2B-Kate Thiesse (MCW), Morgan Williamson (MCW), Maddie McCargar (L) 2, Aunikah Bastian (L), Sam Larsen (L). 3B-Jessi Van Blarcom (L). SF-Bastian (L) 2, Van Blarcom (L). SAC-Larsen (L).
Waseca 5, Fairmont 4 - Raquel Harguth delivered the pivotal go-ahead run with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning to help the Bluejays squeeze past the Cardinals, 5-4, during South Central Conference action Tuesday in Waseca.
Abby Collins allowed four runs on seven hits, struck out four and issued one walk in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Kristen Campe and Courtney Whitmore each went 2-for-3 to top Fairmont's offensive effort. Campe produced two RBIs, Whitmore doubled and scored a run, while Aly Eversman chipped in an RBI single.
Cardinal hurler Taylor Schultze gave up three runs on four hits, struck out one and walked one in five innings to receive no decision.
Mikayla Krzywicki allowed two runs on three hits in one inning of relief to absorb the loss for Fairmont.
Fairmont (0-5, 0-3 SCC) travels to New Ulm on Thursday.
FMT 201 000 1 - 4 7 3
WAS 001 022 x - 5 7 1
Taylor Schultze, Mikayla Krzywicki (6, LP) and Tieryn Arens. Abby Collins (WP) and Jordan Paulson.
Waseca scored nine runs in the seventh inning to slide past Fairmont, 12-11, in B-squad action on Tuesday in Waseca.
Brice Bonin had two hits, including a solo home run, to pace the Cardinals. Courtney Mosloski tripled, while Payton Walser, Katelynn Noah and Kaitlin Korn each doubled for Fairmont. Sara Tschumperlin added a hit.
Alison Johnston allowed six hits, struck out three and walked 10 in a complete-game pitching effort.
Fairmont (1-4) travels to New Ulm on Thursday.
Madelia/Truman 5, Nicollet 4 - Savannah Stevens went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a run scored to lead the Jayhawks to a 5-4 Valley Conference victory over the Raiders on Tuesday in Madelia.
Hanna Hartman went 2-for-4, including an RBI triple, and scored a run for the Jayhawks.
Beth Kotewa struck out 10 and allowed four runs on six hits in seven innings to earn the victory for M/T.
Madelia/Truman (3-4, 2-2 Valley) travels to Mapleton on Thursday.
NIC 100 030 0 - 4 6 2
M/T 002 003 x - 5 11 5
Beth Kotewa (WP) and Ciera Drevlow. Sarah Meurer (LP) and Kayla Giefer.
St. James 9, Blue Earth Area 7 - The Saints scored four runs in the seventh inning to sneak by the Bucs, 9-7, in a South Central Conference game on Tuesday in St. James.
Chelsea Owen went 3-for-4 with two doubles to drive in four runs to lead the Bucs.
Whitney Pirsig went 2-for-4 and scored twice, while Bethany Olson and Janessa Jahnke smacked doubles, scored one run each and collected one RBI each.
Ashton Hendricksen and Kylie Ahl added a run and an RBI, while Megan Wirtjes walked and scored a run.
Abby Nimz pitched the first five innings for the Bucs, giving up six hits and five runs, striking out five and walking one.
Wirtjes pitched the final two innings, allowing four runs on three hits, striking out and walking one to take the loss.
Blue Earth Area (1-5, 1-3 SCC) travels to St. Peter on Friday.