NEW ULM - There were some interesting stats surrounding the Springfield Tigers 4-1 Tomahawk Conference softball victory over the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers had just two hits and they came after the four runs were scored on two walks and three errors.
Chargers pitcher Carlie Maasz whiffed 15 batters and gave up just the two hits, but still lost. MVL left the bases loaded twice and left two runners on twice, but pitcher Jordan Salonek gave up only four hits and was able to pitch out of the jams.
And speaking of runners left on base, there were 22 of them between the teams, 12 for the Chargers and 10 for the Tigers.
In the end, it was Springfield's ability to play "small ball" that allowed them to improve their record to .500 at 3-3.
"We were able to execute our short bunt game tonight and they (MVL) didn't make the plays they needed to," Springfield coach Paul Dunn said. "In this conference (Tomahawk), you need to be able to bunt. Jordan did a nice job pitching and we played pretty good defense."
While MVL managed just four hits, many of their outs were "at 'em" balls. Still, coach Julie Detjen said the Chargers need to help Maasz with some timely hits and better play in the field.
"We left too many people on base," Detjen said. "The hits just weren't falling like they needed to. A timely hit here and there and it'd be tied up. Carlie's been pretty solid and we need to step up a little more on defense."
Through the first three innings, Maasz had seven K's, while the Chargers left runners in scoring position in the first and stranded at first and second in the second. MVL squandered a golden opportunity in the fourth after Springfield committed two errors and the Chargers loaded the bases, but Salonek forced a grounder for the third out.
The Tigers opened the fifth with a walk to Katie Gatzlaff, who promptly stole second and took third on a passed ball. Salonek laid down a bunt, but the throw to first sailed, allowing Gatzlaff to score the first run of the game and sending Salonek to second.
Salonek took third on a wild pitch, followed by a walk to Tiffany Schwanke, who then stole second. Cheyenne Platz hit a dribbler down the line, but the throw to first was low and wasn't handled, allowing two runs and a 3-0 Springfield lead. Michelle Roiger reached on an error, moving Platz to third. Platz then made it 4-0 on a pickoff attempt that went awry.
The Chargers scored in the home half of the inning when Kayleigh Kassuelke and Katelyn Stark walked, with Kassuelke scoring on a Marisa Kroells single to center. But the Chargers left the based loaded again when Salonek ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Tigers got their two hits in the sixth and seventh inning, the latter a double for Platz down the third base line.
The Chargers drop to 2-5 and resume play today with a game in Nicollet at 4:30 p.m. The Tigers play a makeup doubleheader at Wabasso Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.