The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 6, 2014

New Ulm makes early exit from state tourney

Two-time defending champs struggle offensively

NORTH MANKATO — Uncharacteristic.

After two years of winning the Class AA softball championship, New Ulm lost twice on Thursday and was eliminated from the tournament without any hardware. It wasn’t the losses, though, that caught Kristi Anderson Loose off-guard, but the way the Eagles lost surprised the veteran coach.

“It’s tough to summarize, but today wasn’t representative of how our season went,” Anderson Loose said. “Unfortunately, that may be the lasting memory we’ll have for our seniors. It’s up to our underclassmen to get back here next year and make it right.”

New Ulm lost 3-0 to Rockford in the Class AA quarterfinals at Caswell Park, getting only a seventh-inning infield single by Brittany Denn. Tori Botten pitched a complete game, allowing all three runs in the sixth inning. She gave up five hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

“It’s hard to take becaure our bats weren’t on,” Denn said. “At state, you usually need to score four runs, and you can’t do that if you don’t hit the ball.”

In the consolation bracket, the Eagles jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning, but St. Anthony Village rallied for an 8-6 victory.

“I’m still mystified about what happened that first game,” Anderson Loose said.

New Ulm scored in the first inning when Abby Kamm walked and stole second base, and when Rachel Strandmark followed with a walk, Kamm ran all the way home when the defense lost track of her.

Ellie Schneider singled and took second on an error, which scored Strandmark. Denn followed with an RBI double.

But St. Anthony Village scored three unearned runs in the third inning and four in the fifth to take the lead. New Ulm got three back in the fifth when Schneider had an RBI single, and Denn followed with a two-run double.

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