College softball: Minnesota West ousted in region tournament
WAITE PARK -- A timely break here, a timely break there, and the Minnesota West Community and Technical College softball team might be playing for a second straight day at the Region 13A tournament. But it was a break that went against the Lady J...
WAITE PARK -- A timely break here, a timely break there, and the Minnesota West Community and Technical College softball team might be playing for a second straight day at the Region 13A tournament.
But it was a break that went against the Lady Jays, arguably, that had them exiting the tournament Thursday after losing 12-1 in four innings to top-seeded St. Cloud Tech and 8-7 to third-seeded MState-Fergus Falls.
West led Fergus Falls 7-6 in the sixth inning of the second game at Waite Park. But in the top of the fifth inning, starting pitcher Katherin Ihnen was hit in the leg with a throw as she attempted to steal second base. On the bench, her leg swelled, and she couldn’t continue.
Fergus Falls scored once in the sixth and once in the seventh off Brooklyn Barnett to win.
The four-team field was impressive, with St. Cloud Tech taking a 19-1 conference record and 36-7 overall mark into the tournament. Anoka-Ramsey (15-5, 25-18) and MState-Fergus Falls (13-7, 19-7) brought much better records into the tourney than the Jays, who came in at 6-14 and 6-18. But the Worthington outfit fought hard.
“We were able to hit both teams. St. Cloud, we came out and scored right away. I think we kind of stunned them. Brooklyn actually pitched well for the first couple of innings (in Game One). But the walks really hurt us,” said head coach Jeff Linder.
Barnett took the loss against Tech, walking nine batters while striking out two in her four innings of work. In her five innings in Game Two, the normally sharp Ihnen didn’t get the benefit of the doubt, issuing 10 walks.
Still, the Lady Jays got St. Cloud’s attention. Barnett tripled in the top of the first inning and scored on an Emily Haubrich single. The lead, however, was short-lived.
Against MState-Fergus Falls, Haubrich tripled and drove in a run. Ihnen tripled and also had an RBI. And Taylor Noid, who Linder said had an outstanding all-around game, went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Not everything went against the team on Thursday, however. On the day of the tournament, Lake Wilson sophomore Tanner Gunnink received MCAC Player of the Week honors after going 6-for-9 in two games with a home run, a pair of doubles and five RBIs.
After the season ended on Thursday, Linder thanked his players for a memorable season.
“They played confidently. They were having fun. They made it there (to the region tournament),” he said. “We were picking each other up and I was really proud of them. They showed up every game and they gave me everything they had.”
Minnesota West 100 00 -- 1 5 3St. Cloud Tech 216 3x -- 12 8 0---Minnesota West 203 020 0 -- 7 10 3MState-Fergus Falls 303 001 1 -- 8 9 1