Saints 10, Bucs 9
Anna Haler singled in the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to propel the Saints softball team over the visiting BEA Bucs in the regular season final for St James.
Two Saturday’s ago the Saints beat BEA 10-0 in a tournament. Last Thursday the Saints scored 10, but the Bucs had 9 in what turned out to be a wild game.
The Saints won it by scoring runs on several close plays at the plate, multiple stellar defensive plays, adroit coaching by Saints Coach Steve Chapin and some luck.
SJA gave up a run in the top of the first, but the Saints scored two in the bottom half of the inning.
After smacking a single, Acacia Foss advanced to third on a double by Lindzey Hanson and scored on a sacrifice by Anna Haler. Acacia tiptoed around the Bucs catcher and caught just a corner of home plate in beating the throw. Not sure she touched the plate, Acacia sprinted back to home to touch it a second time. Lindzey slid under the tag of the Catcher Janessa Jahnke in another close play at the plate to score the second run of the inning.
In the second, Julia Beckius scored on a close play at the plate after a wild pitch and the Saints held a 4-3 lead after two. The girls played eight games in the previous week and the strain of it showed on the pitchers. Emily Bottem escaped a bing inning in the second, when BEA made a substitution mistake that cost them at least one run and an out.
Head Coach Steve Chapin explained, “They had pinch run for Chelsea Owens in the first inning. When she had her next at bat, they never had reentered her. After seeing the result, I asked if she had been reported back into the game and she had not. This was an illegal batter. It happened to be 3rd out and saved us a run!”
That got Emily into the third inning, but BEA pushed five runs across in that inning. Emily was replaced by Beckius.
Julia also looked like she was struggling a bit. He shoulder seemed tight as she strained to get it lose after several pitches, but she made it the rest of the game in large part thanks to some outstanding defensive plays.
Julia had one of them. BEA looked like they were going to have a big inning when they loaded the bases with no outs. A Bucs batter hit a soft liner to the left side on the mound that was snagged by Julia. She ran over to tag the runner who was off of third base for an unassisted double play.
Page 2 of 2 - In the sixth, the Saints left fielder Jordyn Connell made a running catch over her head in deep left field to end another Bucs threat.
The Saints had another crucial double play in the seventh when right fielder Janelle Larson made a shoe string catch and doubled a runner off of first.
She made a big play in the top of the seventh, and Janelle came up with a big double leading off the bottom of the seventh for the Saints. Freshman Nora Schmidt was substituted as a pinch runner and she was sacrificed over the third by Bottem.
Nora then had a lesson in situational softball. With one out, Lindzey Hanson hit a ball to deep center field and Nora raced home. Only problem was the ball was caught, so she had to hustle back to third.
Anna Haler took the onus of not scoring by tagging up off of Nora’s shoulders when she singled her home to win the game.
Anna and Lindzey each had three hits and Anna got a total of four RBIs for the Saints.
New Ulm 10, Saints 0
It’s a strange year in the sense that after playing nine games in a little more than a week’s time, the Saints played one more game, lost, and the season is over.
On Tuesday, the Saints played New Ulm for the third time this season, and the result was about the same. The powerhouse Eagles crushed the young Saints 10-0. As this was the first game of the state tournament, the loss ended the Saints season.
The Eagles scored early and often scoring four runs in both the first and the second innings. The game was called by the ten run rule in the fifth inning.