BLUE EARTH - New Ulm's softball team, got stellar pitching from Hannah Backer and used explosive bats to down the Blue Earth Area Bucs 16-0 during South Central Conference action on Thursday in Blue Earth.
The two-time defending Class AA state champions used a seven hit, eight run first inning to set the tone against the the Bucs.
"Against a team like New Ulm you have to be aggressive. You have nothing to lose, and after the first inning we got better," said Blue Earth Area head coach Abby Bloomquist.
TWO HANDS — Blue Earth Area shortstop Caitlyn Holm catches a sinking liner for the third out as New Ulm runner Briana Sieve motors to second during conference softball action Thursday in Blue Earth. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
After Abby Kamm led off the game with walk before stealing second.
Rachel Strandmark then walked to put runners on first and second, before Ellie Schneider delivered an RBI single up the middle to score Kamm.
With Strandmark on third, Kali Denn blasted a double to center to go ahead 2-0.
With runners on second and third New Ulm's Brittany Denn pounded a double down the third baseline for a pair of RBIs.
"They are just such a good team, they attack everything and are aggressive at all times," said Bloomquist. "They don't make many mistakes, and they take advantage of every chance you give them."
Tori Botten then smacked the Eagles' third double in a row, driving a hit to right field to score Brittany Denn to make it 5-0.
Hannah Backer, who pitched five innings and gave up one hit to earn the win, reached in her first at-bat on an error.
Botten sprinted home from second to score on the Bucs' error.
Backer then wheeled to second after a Bethany Olson delivery to the plate and then scored when Katie Forst ripped a base hit into the outfield.
Strandmark then drove in Forst with a hit through the left side of the infield in her second at-bat of the game.
After Strandmark swiped second, Schneider recorded her second RBI of the inning, scoring Strandmark with a single to right.
Schneider went 4-for-5 from the plate for the Eagles and scored a pair of runs in addition to her two RBIs.
While the Bucs were able to get the third out and send the Eagles' bats to the bench, Blue Earth Area was held hitless until the fourth inning.
With the Eagles tallying two runs in the second and three in the third they had a 13-0 lead going into the fourth.
"We got better as the game went on against them," said Bloomquist. "We were able to keep them to two or three runs in the final four innings, which I though was good."
Annaliese Klinkner was able to keep Backer from recording a no-hitter, smacking a hit towards third for the single.
"I told our players coming in that to beat a good team, you have to be aggressive at the plate. And while it may not show it in the stats, we were aggressive against them today," said Bloomquist.
Audrey McDonald also walked in the fifth for the Bucs, stealing second before reaching third on a wild pitch.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, Sydney Henningsen struck out and Makenzie Slette flew out to center to end the game.
Backer pitched the complete game for the Eagles, allowing just the one hit and walking one in the shut out.
New Ulm (3-0) plays host to Waseca in a 5:30 p.m. SCC game on Thursday at Harman Park in New Ulm.
Blue Earth Area (0-5, 0-2 SCC) plays host to St. James in a 4:30 p.m. game on Monday in Blue Earth.
New Ulm 823 03 - 16 19 0
B.E. Area 000 00 - 0 1 2
Hannah Backer (WP) and Kali Denn, Bergan Forst (3). Bethany Olson (LP) and Kylie Ahl.
LOB-New Ulm 10; Blue Earth Area 1. 2B-K. Denn (NU), Brittany Denn (NU), Tori Botten (NU), Backer (NU), Ellie Schneider (NU.
Fairmont 15, St. James 6 - Micaela Gochanour and Kristen Campe each continued their torrid hitting ways to power the Cardinals to a 15-6 South Central Conference triumph over the Saints on Thursday in St. James.
Gochanour and Campe equally combined for eight of Fairmont's 17 hits. Gochanour homered, tripled and singled twice en route to four RBIs to complement scoring three runs. Campe tripled, doubled and singled twice to collect one RBI.
Abby Fitzgerald went 3-for-5, including a triple and a double, to produce two RBIs for the Cardinals, while Courtney Guetter went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and scored three times.
Mikayla Krzywicki allowed only one hit in four shutout innings of relief to earn the victory for Fairmont.
Starting pitcher Aly Eversman gave up six runs - only two earned - on two hits, walked five and hit two batters in three innings of work for the red-and-white.
Shortstop Kristen Campe also triggered two of Fairmont's three double plays from a defensive perspective. Campe turned a 6-4-3 twin killing with second baseman Taylor Nuss and first baseman Allison Moeller twice.
Centerfielder Courtney Guetter contributed the Cardinals' third double play by making a catch and picking off a Saints' runner at second base.
Shania Hansen hit a three-run home run for St. James.
Emily Bottem gave up 15 runs - 11 earned - on 17 hits, struck out five and walked two in seven innings to take the loss for the Saints.
Fairmont (3-2, 2-1 SCC) travels to Luverne on Tuesday.
FHS 513 000 6 - 15 17 1
STJ 104 010 0 - 6 3 3
Aly Eversman, Mikayla Krzywicki (4, WP) and Tieryn Arens. Emily Bottem (LP) and Lindzey Hanson.
Cleveland 4, Madelia/Truman 3 - Desi Becker hurled a complete game from inside the chalked circle, in addition to driving in two runs with two hits from the batter's box, to help the Clippers edge the Jayhawks, 4-3, Thursday in Madelia.
Becker gave up three runs - two earned - on eight hits, struck out 10 and did not issue a walk in seven innings of work to earn the victory.
Megan Hobson and Lily Hollerich each went 2-for-4 for Cleveland, with Hobson scoring two runs and Hollerich collecting one RBI.
Brianna Stevensen and Stephanie Jahnz each went 2-for-3 with one RBI to top the Jayhawks' offense. Jahnz also scored a run.
Briannia Pearson went 2-for-2 with a run scored for M/T, while Beth Kotewa went 2-for-3.
Kotewa allowed four runs - three earned - on seven hits, struck out eight and walked one in seven innings of work to take the loss.
Madelia/Truman (1-3) travels to Northrop on Tuesday to face Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain.
CLE 103 000 0 - 4 7 1
M/T 010 011 0 - 3 8 3
Desi Becker (WP) and Holly Gibbs. Beth Kotewa (LP) and Ciera Drevlow.