FAIRMONT - "No pressure. ... We're tied. Just see the ball and hit it hard somewhere," Fairmont softball mentor Terry Ehlert advised Aly Eversman in the on-deck circle, with teammate Tieryn Arens standing on third base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning on Tuesday.
Eversman did as instructed, pounding a towering game-winning hit over the St. Peter left fielder's head to cap the hometown Cardinals' incredible 8-7 cardiac comeback victory in Fairmont.
Tieryn Arens delivered the pivotal extra-base hit during Fairmont's six-run offensive outburst that erased a 7-2 deficit to the Saints in the seventh. With the bases loaded and two out, the left-handed hitting Arens launched a bases-clearing triple to the left-center gap to even the South Central Conference clash at 7-all.
WAITING GAME — Fairmont runner Mikayla Krzywicki (16) nears the plate as St. Peter catcher Kelly Hilligoss awaits a high throw during conference softball action Tuesday at Cardinal Park. Krzywicki beat the throw to score. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
"No question, hands down, that was the biggest win of my short head coaching career," said a grinning Ehlert. "This is the first time in the five years I've been with the (softball) program that we've beaten St. Peter, so that tells you something."
Down by five during its last at-bat, starting pitcher Mikayla Krzywicki assisted her own cause by drawing a leadoff walk from Saints' starter Tailor Raymond.
Courtney Guetter lined her second hit of the game to left field before Krzywicki circled the bases when the St. Peter outfielder let the softball carom away. Guetter, who took second base on the error, then scored when Micaela Gochanour scorched a grounder off the Saint shortstop's glove to close the gap to 7-4.
Both Kristen Campe and Allison Moeller hit the ball to deep center only to watch as St. Peter's Jaide Fondie tracked down both shots to inch the visitors within one out of a victory.
Mariah Thate, however, worked out a walk to load the bases for Arens and the freshman catcher smacked an 0-2 delivery to the gap for three RBIs to set up Eversman's late hitting heroics.
Ironically, Fairmont jumped out to an early 2-0 lead during the first inning when Guetter singled and Gochanour drilled a two-run, inside-the-park home run to the right-center gap.
St. Peter, however, knotted the game with two runs in the fourth, grabbed a 4-2 edge with two more in the fifth, plated two more in the sixth and added a solo run in the seventh.
Maggie Nelson doubled and Magi Card produced an RBI single to highlight the Saints' tying effort in the fourth before Kelly Hilligoss smacked a run-scoring triple to fuel the visitors' go-ahead at-bat in the fifth.
Molly Card delivered an RBI single in the St. Peter sixth before Raymond literally stole home during the seventh.
Arens also displayed her defensive prowess throughout the game, highlighted by converting an incredible double play by barehanding a popped-up bunt before firing to first base to nail the straying Saints' runner in the fifth.
Guetter, Gochanour and Arens each produced two of the Cardinals' nine hits, with Guetter and Gochanour each crossing the plate twice. Courtney Whitmore, Thate and Eversman added one hit each.
Nelson and Magi Card each went 3-for-3 to top the Saints, while Hilligoss and Molly Card each supplied two hits and one RBI.
Krzywicki allowed seven runs - only two earned - on 13 hits, struck out two and walked two in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for Fairmont.
Raymond gave up eight runs - just two earned - on nine hits, struck out six, walked four and hit one batter in 6 2/3 innings to take the loss for St. Peter.
Fairmont (7-8, 5-4 SCC) plays host to Waseca at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Cardinal Park.
St. Peter (7-8, 5-4) plays host to defending Class AA state champion New Ulm at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
St. Peter 000 222 1 - 7 13 2
Fairmont 200 000 6 - 8 9 3
Winning run scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Tailor Raymond (LP) and Kelly Hilligoss. Mikayla Krzywicki (WP) and Tieryn Arens.
LOB-Fairmont 7, St. Peter 10. 2B-Maggie Nelson (SP), Magi Card (SP). 3B-Tieryn Arens (F), Aly Eversman (F), Hilligoss (SP). HR-Micaela Gochanour (F). SAC-Nelson (SP).
St. Peter downed Fairmont, 13-3 in six innings, during junior varsity action Tuesday at Cardinal Park.
Brice Bonin collected two hits to top the Cardinals, while teammate Jess Koskovich smacked a triple. Payton Walser, Courtney Mosloski, Kaitlin Korn, Karen Flores, Katelynn Noah and Lisa Craig each supplied a hit.
Taylor Nuss allowed six hits, struck out four and walked six in five frames of work for Fairmont.
Allison Johnston struck out one, walked one and gave up one hit in one inning of relief.
Martin County West 19, Madelia/Truman 4 - Rebecca Steen, Kate Thiesse and Morgan Williamson each belted home runs to stampede the Mavericks to a 19-4, five-inning Valley Conference victory over the Jayhawks on Tuesday in Madelia.
Thiesse went 3-for-5 with a two-run round-tripper, Steen went 2-for-4 with a two-run clout, while Williamson went 2-for-4 with a solo shot.
Emily Klima went 3-for-4 and scored three runs to pack extra punch to MCW's 18-hit performance.
Steen gave up four runs on 13 hits, struck out four and walked two in five frames of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Savannah Hodge went 3-for-4 with one RBI to top M/T, Stephanie Jahnz went 2-for-3 with a double, while Melody Colon added a 2-for-3 effort.
Beth Kotewa allowed 19 runs on 18 hits, struck out five and walked one in five innings to take the loss for the Jayhawks.
Martin County West (7-3) travels to Sleepy Eye St. Mary's on Thursday for a 5 p.m. game. Madelia/Truman (4-10, 2-6 Valley) hosts Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton today in a rescheduled game in Madelia.
MCW 2(11)0 06 - 19 18 1
M/T 1 00 21 - 4 13 6
Rebecca Steen (WP) and Shawna Dressen. Beth Kotewa (LP) and Ciera Drevlow.