FAIRMONT - Abby Kamm and Rachel Strandmark perfectly fit the descriptions of an ideal leadoff hitter and No. 2 batter, respectively.
Kamm and Strandmark combined for a 5-for-7 effort in the batter's box, scored five total runs, swiped four bases and collected two RBIs to jumpstart defending Class AA state champion New Ulm's 11-1, five-frame softball triumph over the Fairmont Cardinals on Monday at Cardinal Park.
"I didn't teach them how to use their speed, but I appreciate the way they do," Eagles' mentor Kristi Andersen Loose said in reference to her basepath bandits.
REACHING OUT — Fairmont’s Courtney Whitmore (right) extends on a head-first slide as New Ulm catcher Kali Denn tries to corral a low throw to home during South Central Conference softball action Monday at Cardinal Park. Whitmore was safe on the play. Umpire Matt Prunty looks on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Kamm, who went 3-for-4, set the table during New Ulm's first at-bat by slapping a leadoff single to right and promptly stealing second base in the South Central Conference contest. Kamm moved to third on Strandmark's deadened bunt hit in front of the plate, and Strandmark never broke stride in reaching second on the play.
Fairmont right-hander Mikayla Krzywicki hit No. 3 batter Brittany Hoffmann with an offering to load the bases before Cardinal third baseman Micaela Gochanour delivered a defensive gem to limit New Ulm's damage to a solo run. Gochanour gloved a one-hopper off Kali Denn's bat and pegged a strike to catcher Tieryn Arens for a force at the plate.
Strandmark later scored on Ellie Schneider's sacrifice fly to right before Krzywicki scooped up a comebacker to exit further damage.
The Cardinals answered with a solo run in the home half of the first behind three hits before Eagles' ace right-hander Sydney Schuck notched a pivotal strikeout to escape.
Courtney Guetter singled, moved to second on Gochanour's sacrifice bunt and reached third on Courtney Whitmore's infield hit. Kristen Campe reached on a fielder's choice before Allison Moeller singled home Whitmore to knot the score at 1-all.
Despite four more defensive gems by the Fairmont defense, New Ulm utilized its quickness to generate two runs in the second, four in the fourth and four more in the fifth to exit the ballpark early.
Cardinal shortstop Kristen Campe cut down the lead runner at third base during a first-and-second situation in the top of the second before catcher Tieryn Arens skimmed the backstop fence to corral an inning-ending foul popup.
Fairmont centerfielder Mariah Thate doubled off a New Ulm courtesy runner via a nice running catch and throw during the third before Cardinal left fielder Aly Eversman made a lengthy run to corral a sinking liner in shallow left in the fourth.
Kamm notched an RBI infield hit, Strandmark plated a run with a fielder's choice, while Schneider and Katie Forst followed with RBI singles to trigger the Eagles' four-run fourth.
Brittany Hoffmann and Schneider later smacked RBI singles in the fifth before relief pitcher Hannah Backer drilled a two-run double to create a double-digit deficit for the Cardinals.
Schuck allowed one earned run on five hits, struck out three and did not issue a walk in three innings of work to earn the victory. Backer fanned four without issuing a free pass in pitching two shutout innings of three-hit relief.
Whitmore and Krzywicki each collected two hits for Fairmont, while Kristen Campe pounded out a third-inning double.
Krzywicki allowed 11 runs on 13 hits, struck out two, walked three and hit three batters in five frames to receive the loss.
Fairmont (0-4, 0-2 SCC) travels to Waseca today for a 5:30 p.m. game. New Ulm (7-1, 3-0) plays host to St. Peter at 5:30 p.m. today.
New Ulm 120 44 - 11 13 0
Fairmont 100 00 - 1 8 1
Sydney Schuck (WP), Hannah Backer (4) and Kali Denn. Mikayla Krzywicki (LP) and Tieryn Arens.
LOB-Fairmont 7, New Ulm 8. 2B-Kristen Campe (F), Backer (NU). SF-Ellie Schneider (NU). SAC-Micaela Gochanour (F).
New Ulm coasted to a 16-1 victory over Fairmont during junior varsity action Monday.
Abby Fitzgerald collected a hit and stole home to produce the Cardinals' only run in the game. Taylor Nuss added a hit for Fairmont, which travels to Waseca today.
Fairmont won three games to capture top honors in the Cardinals' C-squad softball invitational on Saturday in Fairmont.
Abby Fitzgerald went 3-for-4 with a triple to power Fairmont to an opening 9-5 victory over Blue Earth Area.
Taylor Nuss went 2-for-3 with a home run, while Cardinal teammates Lindsee Tromanhauser and Katelynn Noah each went 2-for-3.
Nuss recorded 11 strikeouts and issued five walks in earning the Game 1 pitching victory.
Allison Johnston fired a one-hit shutout to guide Fairmont to a 6-0 second-round win over Waseca. Johnston struck out five and issued three walks to net the pitching victory.
Fitzgerald, Brice Bonin and Courtney Mosloski each supplied a hit to the Cardinals' winning effort.
Fitzgerald went 3-for-3 and scored three runs to engineer Fairmont's 17-3 rout of Albert Lea.
Bonin and Mosloski each collected two hits for the Cardinals, with Mosloski belting a triple.
Nuss struck out five and walked five in earning the pitching victory for Fairmont.
St. Peter 7, Blue Earth Area 2 - The visiting Saints plated three runs in the top of the sixth inning to double their lead en route to the 7-2 South Central Conference victory over the Bucs on Monday night in Blue Earth.
Ashton Hendricksen went 2-for-2 and scored one run to top Blue Earth Area's offense, while teammates Kylie Ahl, Janessa Jahnke, Whitney Pirsig and Chelsea Owen each produced a hit.
Bethany Olson drew two walks and scored a run to round out the Bucs' offensive performance.
Megan Wirtjes allowed seven runs on 11 hits and walked two in pitching all seven innings to take the loss for the home team.
Blue Earth Area (1-4, 1-2 SCC) plays host to St. James at 5:30 p.m. today in Blue Earth.
St. Peter 001 023 1 - 7
B.E. Area 000 002 0 - 2
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 5, Madelia/Truman 2 - Sami Sorenson fired a two-hitter from inside the pitcher's circle and assisted her own with a two-run home run to steer the Knights to a 5-2 Valley Conference victory over the Jayhawks on Monday in Madelia.
Sorenson allowed two runs on two hits, struck out 13 and issued two walks in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Sorenson also went 2-for-4 offensively, while teammate Mckenzie Tibbetts went 4-for-4 with a triple.
Melody Colon delivered both of the Jayhawks' hits, including a two-run double in the bottom of the second inning.
M/T starting pitcher Beth Kotewa gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out seven and walked only three in seven innings of work to absorb the loss.
Madelia/Truman (2-4) plays host to Nicollet today in Madelia.
LCWM 000 010 4 - 5 9 0
M/T 020 000 0 - 2 2 3
Sami Sorenson (WP) and Mckenzie Tibbetts. Beth Kotewa (LP) and Ciera Drevlow.
Nicollet 21, Martin Luther/ GHEC 1 - Kayla Giefer went 4-for-5, including a home run, and collected six RBIs to power the Raiders to a 21-1, five-inning Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Monday in Northrop.
Courtney Struss went 4-for-5 with five RBIs for Nicollet.
Casha Spear singled to drive in the Knights' only run of the game.
Martin Luther/GHEC (0-4) travels to Lake Crystal today.
Fairmont 7, Luverne 4 - Mitch Pfingsten delivered a tiebreaking, two-run single with two out in the top of the sixth inning to help the Class AA, No. 4-ranked Cardinals rally for a 7-4 nonconference baseball victory over the No. 18-ranked hometown Cardinals on Monday in Luverne.
Pfingsten finished the game with a 2-for-3 performance and two RBIs, while teammate Luke Becker went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
Levi Becker delivered an RBI double during Fairmont's two-run fifth frame, while Ryan Noll smacked a run-scoring two-base hit during the visitors' three-run sixth. Levi Becker scored a pair of runs, while Noll scored once.
Bryce Holm drove in a pair of runs via a sacrifice fly and an RBI fielder's choice for Fairmont, Jacob Ellis contributed an RBI single, while Christian Petschke added a hit.
Spencer Chirpich allowed one earned run on two hits, struck out four and walked two in 3 2/3 innings of relief to earn the victory for the visiting Cardinals.
Luke Becker started on the hill, giving up three earned runs on three hits, fanning one and walking one in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Josh Slieter went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, drove in one run and scored once to top Luverne.
Reed Skattum started on the hill for the hometown lineup, giving up four runs - three earned - on seven hits, walked two and fanned four in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Skyler Wenninger allowed three runs - all unearned - on two hits, walked two and struck out one in 2 2/3 innings of relief to absorb the loss.
Fairmont (3-0) travels to Waseca today for a 5:30 p.m. South Central Conference game.
Luverne (4-1) plays host to Jackson County Central in a 4 p.m. doubleheader on Friday.
FHS 000 223 0 - 7 9 3
LUV 000 400 0 - 4 5 3
Luke Becker, Spencer Chirpich (4, WP) and Mitch Pfingsten. Reed Skattum, Skyler Wenninger (5, LP) and Logan Norman.
Matt Lytle went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to guide Fairmont to a 14-2, six-inning victory over Luverne during B-squad action Monday in Luverne.
Cole Emler drove in two runs behind a 1-for-3 effort for the visiting Cardinals, Bailey Koppen contributed an RBI single, while Rodney Engstrom added a hit.
Emler allowed one run on four hits, fanned one and walked one in three innings to earn the victory.
Engstrom gave up one hit, struck out one and walked two in two shutout innings of relief, while Ben Abel walked two and allowed a run in pitching the sixth inning.
The Fairmont B-squad (2-0) travels to Waseca today.
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 10, Blue Earth Area 0 - David Surprenant fired a one-hit complete-game shutout to propel the Class A, No. 3-ranked Knights to a 10-0 non-league triumph over the Bucs on Monday in Sleepy Eye.
Surprenant struck out five and issued only one base-on-balls in going the distance.
Sean Mathiowetz went 2-for-4 with one RBI to pace SESM's nine-hit attack, while Jordan Anderson doubled home a pair of runs.
Christian Haugh collected the Bucs' only hit of the game.
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's (4-0) travels to Milroy tonight for a 7 p.m. game against Wabasso. Blue Earth Area travels to St. James today for a 4:30 p.m. South Central Conference doubleheader.