Crissinger’s walkoff HR tops Fairmont’s 1-0 win over B.E. Area

WALKOFF HOMER — Fairmont Cardinal batter Taylor Crissinger connects for a walkoff home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning during Big South Conference softball action Thursday at Cardinal Park in Fairmont. Blue Earth Area catcher Miya Gustafson (right) looks on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Taylor Crissinger finally figured out the delivery trajectory and made the softball exit the yard at Cardinal Park on Thursday.

Crissinger hammered a walkoff solo home run over the left-field fence with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to engineer the Fairmont Cardinals’ 1-0 Big South Conference triumph over the Blue Earth Area Bucs.

“I’m dropping my elbow — I need to keep it up,” said Crissinger after flying out for the third consecutive time in the bottom of the sixth inning despite making solid contact.

“I guess TC figured it out and made the right adjustments,” Fairmont assistant coach Tom Seifert said with a grin after Crissinger’s game-winning clout.

The one-run victory helped the Cardinals salvage a seasonal series split with the Bucs, who rallied to edge their Big South Conference rivals by a 3-2 decision only three days earlier in Blue Earth.

“It was a pitchers’ battle all the way through today,” said Fairmont head coach Haley Loerts. “Jo (Jordan Ehlert) pitched an outstanding game, while (Blue Earth Area starter Lauren) Madetzke kept us off the scoreboard for eight innings until breaking through in the ninth.”

Ehlert retired the first eight Buc batters she faced before surrendering a third-inning single to Sydney Blagg.

Fairmont’s ace senior right-hander then single-handedly averted danger in the top of the fourth inning by displaying her fielding prowess.

“After (Adrianna) Granillo led off with a single and eventually reached third base on a wild pitch and a stolen base, Jo really did a nice job of getting out of the inning without giving up a run,” said Loerts.

Ehlert gloved back-to-back hard comebackers off the bats of Madetzke and McKenna Dutton, checked Granillo back to third base and fired to record the outs. Ehlert then recorded one of her game-best 13 strikeouts to slam the door shut in the fourth.

Madetzke also displayed her mettle inside the chalked circle by working around Cardinal catcher Chloe Murphy’s two-out triple during the bottom of the second inning.

Murphy, who went 2-for-3, launched a towering three-base hit to straightaway center, but Madetzke picked off the ensuing Fairmont batter, who attempted to reach second base immediately following being issued a walk.

Jen Moeller and Cambrie Anderson contributed hits to Fairmont’s offensive attack, while Blagg, Granillo and Madetzke accounted for Blue Earth Area’s hits.

Ehlert fired a three-hit complete-game shutout, notching a baker’s-dozen strikeouts without issuing a walk to earn the win.

Madetzke gave up one run on five hits, struck out two and issued three walks in 8 1/3 innings to absorb the tough loss.

“Both Jo and Madetzke pitched outstanding games today, and should be proud of their efforts,” said Seifert.

Fairmont (5-9) travels to Worthington today to play the Trojans at 5:30 p.m. on Minnesota West’s diamond before playing host to St. Peter in an 11 a.m. rescheduled game on Saturday at Cardinal Park.

Blue Earth Area (2-10) will complete its suspended game against Worthington at 9 a.m. Saturday in Blue Earth before hosting Windom Area at 11 a.m. in another Big South contest.

BEA 000 000 000 — 0 3 0

FHS 000 000 001 — 1 5 3

Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Lauren Madetzke (LP) and Miya Gustafson. Jordan Ehlert (WP) and Chloe Murphy.

LOB–Blue Earth Area 6, Fairmont 5. 3B–Murphy (FHS). HR–Taylor Crissinger (FHS). SAC–McKenna Dutton (BEA).

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