NORTH MANKATO - The New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds softball team changed their breed to a boxer Tuesday night at Caswell Park.
First, the Greyhounds KO'd the Sleepy Eye St. Mary's Knights 10-7, then got revenge on the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs with a 8-4 knockout.
The wins sets up a 2A rematch with Mankato Loyola, who defeated Cathedral during the regular season 5-4. Cathedral will have to beat Loyola twice on Thursday evening to advance in the Class A tournament, with the first pitch at 5 p.m.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s shortstop Larissa Helget (right) attempts to complete a double play by throwing the ball over New Ulm Cathedral’s Jenessa Rothmeier (1) as teammate Deonna Brinkman looks on during their Section 2A Playoff game Tuesday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Some of the best punches for the Greyhounds were thrown by pitcher Anna Mohr, outfielder Anne Schwarz and shortstop Lisa Helget. Mohr threw a total of 10 2/3 innings and held both teams to a total of eight hits, while Schwarz hit a three-run bomb in the first game and Helget went 5-for-7 in the doubleheader.
It was especially sweet for senior Helget, who was out a good portion of the season with an ankle injury.
"My biggest fear coming back was not hitting," Helget said. "Tonight. I felt like I was connecting with the ball and and seeing it well. It felt good to be back there."
Leah Krzmarzzick started on the mound for the Greyhounds against the Knights.While St. Mary's jumped out to a 3-0 start in the opener, Cathedral roared back to tie it in their next at bat, courtesy of the Schwarz tattoo that sailed over the left field fence. The Knights regained their final lead in the home half of the second, 4-3, but the Greyhounds bounced right back by scoring four in the third, helped by two doubles, a single, two sacrifice flies, a walk and a hit batter to make it 7-4.
Cathedral was up 9-5 but after a Greyhound error and three straight singles that scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, Mohr came in to pitch and got the final two outs in the inning. Cathedral then scored the final run in the sixth for the 10-7 victory.
St. Mary's stranded nine runners, leaving the bases loaded twice and players at first and second once. The Knights just weren't able to come up with the big hit when they needed it.
"We had our chances," St. Mary's coach Wendy Owens said. "You hate to see the season end, but it just wasn't in the cards today. Given the circumstances, we made it interesting. We have nothing to hang our heads about." The Knights finished their season with a 16-6 record.
After pounding out 15 hits against St. Mary's, Greyhounds coach Bob Mertz was hopeful the bats would stay hot against the Bulldogs, who beat the Greyhounds 5-0 last Saturday.
While LP/HT was known for its defense and pitching, plus a couple of big bats in the middle of the lineup, it was all those things that did them in for the nightcap. They committed three errors, walked 10 and saw their 3-4-5 hitters go 3-for 12.
"We got some big hits against the Knights," Mertz said. "We need to score early against LP/HT to put the pressure on them."
Like a Hollywood script, the Greyhounds did just that by jumping to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first on just two hits, but three walks. Cathedral took a 5-2 margin going into the bottom of the third when they got two more runs on smoke, mirrors, one hit, two Bulldogs errors and a walk.
LP/HT came back with a run in the sixth, but five walks from two Bulldogs pitchers upped the Greyhouds lead to 8-3, with LP/HT scoring a meaningless run in the top of the seventh.
Mohr said she fooled batters with "a combination of fastballs and a changeup. The umpire was calling them inside. I just found the spots."
And now the spot has the Greyhounds on a familiar trip back to North Mankato Thursday afternoon.