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Connell powers Luverne softball over Fairmont, 7-3

RUNNING GRAB — Fairmont right fielder Brittney Mosloski makes an extended running catch near the foul line during Big South Conference softball action against Luverne on Friday at Cardinal Park in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Luverne leadoff batter Billi Connell just missed hitting for the cycle during Friday’s Big South Conference softball clash with Fairmont at Cardinal Park.

Ironically, the only hit that Connell was missing — a single.

Connell homered, tripled, doubled and produced a game-best three RBIs to power Luverne to a 7-3 victory over Fairmont to end the hometown Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.

“The biggest difference in the game was we couldn’t get their leadoff hitter (Connell) out no matter how we pitched her,” said Fairmont head coach Cory Hainy.

Connell hammered a two-run HR over the left-field fence to plate Reghan Bork, who had singled, to reduce Fairmont’s lead to 3-2 in the top of the third inning. Ainslie Robinson, who walked later during the at-bat, scored the equalizer via a stolen base and back-to-back wild pitches.

Fairmont, however, produced the game’s initial runs during the bottom of the second inning.

“We definitely came out with more energy than earlier this week,” said Hainy. “We put together that one big inning, but couldn’t get anything going after that. We just couldn’t deliver a hit with runners in scoring position during the late innings.”

Nevaeh Rahm triggered Fairmont’s only run production in the second by reaching on a Luverne throwing error before moving to second base when Ava Gillmore drew a walk.

Kynlie Anderson then dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Rahm and Gillmore into scoring position, and reached on another Luverne throwing error.

Kaitlyn Scott plated Rahm with an RBI groundout before Abby Sunken lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home Gillmore for a 2-0 Fairmont margin. Anderson then circled the bases when Allison Janssen drilled a towering RBI double to the left-center gap.

Anna Ehlert tripled with two outs in the Fairmont fifth at-bat, but was stranded when Connell — playing third base — gloved Cassidy Schultz’s hard-hit grounder and threw her out at first.

Chantel Moeller then hammered a leadoff double in Fairmont’s sixth at-bat, but courtesy runner Brittney Mosloski was eventually stranded at third when Luverne hurler Gracie Nath got three consecutive groundouts to escape unscathed.

Nath also worked around Scott’s leadoff single in Fairmont’s seventh at-bat by notching two of her three strikeouts on the complete game.

Luverne snapped the 3-all tie in the fourth when Emma Beyer was hit by a pitch and scored on Connell’s towering RBI triple to right field. Luverne manufactured another solo run in the fifth via Carly Olson’s leadoff walk and Averill Sehr’s RBI double to center.

Luverne then transformed three consecutive walks in the seventh into two more runs and its eventual four-run margin of victory. Anika Boll lofted a sacrifice fly and Beyer delivered an RBI single to plate the runs.

Fairmont catcher Chantel Moeller made a diving putout on a play at the plate following a wild pitch to slam the brakes on Luverne’s seventh-inning outburst.

Nath allowed three runs — none earned — on five hits, struck out three and walked only one in seven innings pitched to earn the complete-game win for Luverne.

Janssen gave up six hits and five runs — four earned, while striking out a game-best 10 and issuing three walks in six combined innings for Fairmont.

Fairmont (4-9) travels to Lake Crystal on Monday for a nonconference game, while Luverne (8-6) hits the road to Edgerton on Monday for a non-league clash.

LUV 003 110 2 — 7 7 2

FMT 030 000 0 — 3 5 1

Gracie Nath (WP) and Carly Olson. Allison Janssen (LP), Nevaeh Rahm (6), Janssen (7) and Chantel Moeller.

LOB–Luverne 7, Fairmont 5. 2B–Allison Janssen (FMT), Chantel Moeller (FMT), Billi Connell (LUV), Averill Sehr (LUV). 3B–Anna Ehlert (FMT), Billi Connell (LUV). HR–Billi Connell (LUV). SF–Abby Sunken (FMT), Anika Boll (LUV). SAC–Kynlie Anderson (FMT).

Ace hurler Gabby Leiding recorded 16 strikeouts in pitching a five-hit complete-game gem to propel Fairmont to a 4-1 triumph over Luverne during junior varsity action Friday at Cardinal Park in Fairmont.

Ava Terfehr delivered a two-run double, Ashley Muller collected two hits and one RBI, while teammates Ella Klunder, Breanna Groskreutz, Jayda Healey and Tiffany Lowry each supplied one hit for Fairmont (10-2).

Prep Baseball

Marshall 9-6, Fairmont 0-5 — Junior left-hander Charlie Jacobson utilized his strong pitching arm and powerful bat to guide the Tigers to a Big South Conference baseball doubleheader sweep over the Cardinals on Friday at Legion Field in Marshall.

Jacobson hurled a two-hit complete-game shutout to pace Marshall’s opening 9-0 victory over Fairmont. Jacobson recorded 12 strikeouts and issued four walks in seven innings of work.

Jack Kosbab collected Fairmont’s lone two hits off Jacobson.

Jacobson assisted his own cause at the plate in Game 1 with two hits, including a double, and three RBIs, while teammate Cole Felcyn delivered two hits and two RBIs.

Conner Neubeck collected two doubles and a single, while Josh Baker and Brock Schultz each supplied two hits for Marshall in the opener.

Jacob Crissinger pitched 3 2/3 innings for Fairmont, allowing four runs on nine hits, while striking out two. Lincoln Becker pitched the final 2 1/3 in relief, allowing five runs — three earned — on six hits, while striking out one.

Jacobson collected another two hits and three RBIs in Game 2 to help the Tigers edge the Cardinals by a 6-5 decision. Felcyn collected two hits and two RBIs, while Baker smacked two hits, including a double.

Felcyn started on the mound for Marshall, pitched three innings and allowing two runs — one earned — on one hit and two walks to garner the win, while striking out one.

Kosbab led Fairmont’s offensive effort again by generating a double and three RBIs, Eli Anderson contributed a hit, a run scored and one RBI, while Zach Jorgensen slugged a double and a run scored.

Jorgensen pitched the first 4 1/3 innings for Fairmont, allowing six runs — four earned — on six hits and six walks, while striking out four. Landen Meyerdirk pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings of relief and allowed only one hit, while striking out two.

Fairmont (5-7) plays host to Faribault at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Herb Wolf Field.

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