WELCOME - Martin County West's batters needed one time through the order to synchronize the timing of their respective swings on Thursday.
Bailey Tish delivered a pivotal two-run single in the third inning, while Jordan Gregory blasted a key two-run triple in the fourth to power the No. 2-seeded Mavericks to a 10-5 postseason softball victory over No. 3-seeded Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial at Fox Lake Sports Complex in Welcome.
Martin County West (10-4) advances to face No. 1-seeded Mankato Loyola in a Section 2A, South Sub-Section winners-bracket game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Caswell Park in North Mankato. The Crusaders remained undefeated in postseason action via a 6-4 victory over No. 4-seeded St. Clair.
SAFE SCRAMBLING — Martin County West runner Kate Thiesse (front) scrambles back to third base before Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial third baseman Megan Schroeder applies the tag during Section 2A, South Sub-Section softball playoff action on Thursday in Welcome. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (8-7) faces St. Clair in a sectional elimination game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
"We knew we had to be patient at the plate and make her (Knights' starting pitcher Sammi Sorenson) keep the ball down," said Maverick mentor Darrell Ziegler. "She held us in check for the first couple of innings, but we finally broke through the second time around.
"Bailey Tish really came through with a big base hit to get us going in the third inning."
Trailing 2-0, MCW leadoff batter Kate Thiesse reached on an error before wheeling all the way to third base on Gregory's single up the middle. Morgan Williamson later drew a one-out walk to load the bases before Thiesse trotted home on a wild pitch.
Tish, who went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, then hammered a Sorenson offering to center to plate Gregory and Williamson to grab a 3-2 lead after three complete frames.
Maverick starting pitcher Rebecca Steen then retired the Knights in order during the top of the fourth to quickly return her teammates to the batter's box.
Kennedy Janssen drew a leadoff walk before motoring all the way to third base when Thiesse legged out a bunt hit and the ensuing throw skipped away from the LCWM first baseman.
Gregory, who went 2-for-2 with two walks, drilled a towering two-run triple to deep center to bring home Janssen and Thiesse. Gregory later crossed the plate on a wild pitch for a 6-2 edge.
Sorenson, who went 2-for-4 with a game-best three RBIs, then sliced the Knights' deficit in half by dumping a two-run single into shallow left field with two outs in the top of the fifth. Brittany Burnett and McKenzie Tibbetts, who had each reached on singles, scored on Sorenson's hit.
Tayler Hagen, however, answered the challenge for MCW by hammering a leadoff triple over the left fielder's head before scoring on Molly Klima's RBI infield hit during the home half of the fifth.
Klima later scored on Thiesse's RBI triple to the right-center gap before Thiesse scooted home on a wild pitch.
Steen, who had reached on a fielder's choice, later circled the bases on a throwing error to extend the lead to 10-4.
Burnett singled, reached third on an error and later scored on McKenzie Schaffer's RBI fielder's choice to close out the top of the seventh for LCWM.
Thiesse, Gregory, Tish and Hagen each collected two hits to top the Mavericks, while Burnett, Tibbetts, Schaffer and Sorenson each belted out two hits for the Knights.
Steen allowed five runs - four earned - on 10 hits, struck out five and did not issue a walk in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Sorenson gave up 10 runs - seven earned - on nine hits, walked seven and fanned six in six innings to absorb the loss.
LCWM 110 020 1 - 5 10 2
MCW 003 340 x - 10 9 1
Sammi Sorenson (LP) and McKenzie Tibbetts. Rebecca Steen (WP) and Shawna Dressen.
LOB-MCW 7, LCWM 5. 2B-Tibbetts (LCWM), McKenzie Schaffer (LCWM), Sorenson (LCWM). 3B-Kate Thiesse (MCW), Jordan Gregory (MCW), Tayler Hagen (MCW).
Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 9, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 7 - Dylan Petrowiak produced three RBIs on three hits from the batter's box and pitched the seventh inning to save the Knights' 9-7 nonconference baseball victory over the Panthers on Thursday in Northrop.
Petrowiak singled twice, doubled and scored two runs from an offensive perspective, while teammate Dustin DeBell doubled to produce two RBIs. Josh Wolter added a double and scored twice to round out the Knights' winning effort.
Petrowiak allowed one unearned run during a hitless seventh inning of relief. The right-hander struck out one and walked one.
Starting pitcher Trent Stensland gave up six runs - four earned - on three hits in five frames to net the win. Stensland struck out three, walked three and hit three batters.
Colton Greiner struck out two and walked one in pitching a scoreless and hitless sixth for the Knights.
Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman (12-5) plays host to United South Central at 1 p.m. Saturday in Truman in a Section 2A, South Sub-Section playoff opener.
NRHEG 020 130 1 - 7 3 3
MLGHECT 105 120 x - 9 8 4
Fairmont swept its final two games of the regular season, downing Blue Earth Area, 14-11 and 10-7, during B-squad action on Thursday.
Parker Monsen, Matt Lytle, Ben Abel and Rodney Engstrom each collected two hits and one RBI to pace the Cardinals in the opener.
Bailey Koppen contributed a two-run double to Fairmont's winning ways, while Nate Johnson chipped in a single.
Lytle gave up 11 runs - five earned - on nine hits, struck out three and walked three in five innings to earn the win for Fairmont. Johnson walked one and allowed one hit in one shutout inning of relief.
Ryan Brooks went 3-for-4 with two RBIs to engineer the Cardinals' Game 2 decision. Monsen supplied two hits and two RBIs, while Johnson added two hits, including a double, and one RBI.
Johnson gave up seven runs - five earned - on seven hits, fanned five and walked three in six innings to earn the complete-game victory.
Fairmont's B-squad ended its season with a 10-3-1 record.