By Brooke Kern
Journal Sports Writer
NORTH MANKATO - The Tigers of Cherry top the Greyhounds of New Ulm Cathedral in 8-innings 6-5 during the Class A consolation finals Friday at Caswell Park.
"Exciting game until the end," Cathedral Coach Bob Mertz said.
Cathedral took the early lead in the first. With bases loaded, by walks and a hit-by-pitch, Leah Krzmarzick reached first on a fielding error and was credited for a RBI as Paige Pautzke scored to put Greyhounds on the board 1-0.
"We had so many opportunities and innings to score, we just didn't score enough, but we had our chances," Mertz said.
This was the case in innings two, four, and five, as Greyhounds got hits, but were left stranded.
In the third, Lisa Helget doubled and advanced to third after a tag up. Abby Hauser was credited with an RBI after reaching first on a fielding error to score Helget and put the Greyhounds up 2-0.
But Cherry got on the board and went ahead of the Greyhounds 3-2 with three hits, three runs in the top of the fourth.
In the sixth, Chery had a chance to add to the lead when Joely Roberts singled to third, but was left stranded.
Cathedral's comeback started in the bottom of the sixth when MacKinnon Ehlenz singled up the middle. Pautzke doubled to left for a RBI, scoring Ehlenz from first to tie the game up 3-3. It didn't stop there.
Pautzke stole third, putting her in scoring position for Jenessa Rothmeier's RBI single through the left side, closing out the inning 4-3 in favor of the Greyhounds.
In the seventh, the Tigers answered by tying it up again when Kacey Herrig singled, scoring Abby Mayry to tie the game 4-4.
Cathedral went three-up, three-down to send the game to extra innings.
In the eighth, Cherry scored twice (6-4) on three hits and one error in the field by Cathedral.
Cathedral only answer ed with one run to make it 6-5 when Pautzke scored on a Helget single. A fly out ended the season for Cathedral .
"We had our No. 4 hitter up here and hoping to get a big hit and win the game, in fact, the batter before that, Lisa Helget, I told her, I said, 'Lisa, boy a three-run homer would be nice right now,' Mertz said. "I thought it was going to happen. She's one of our leading home run hitters, but she made a little boo-boo and I thought the game was over there. [The home run] just didn't quite happen. We got our share of hits and opportunities, it was just not our day."
The winning pitcher was Kacey Herring. She allowed only five runs on nine hits with 11 strikeouts.
Cathedral ends the season at 20-7.
"We beat Mankato Loyola to get here in losers bracket, and that was really big for us - I was not expecting to get back [at state] this year, but they got me back here one more time, and maybe we can do it again next year," Mertz said. "The coaching staff is going to be intact, I know that."
Though losing two seniors in Helget and Pautzke, leaving the Greyhounds with big shoes to fill, Coach Mertz is still positive about this program and says the future looks good for the Greyhounds.
"It was a nice season. We lost to two very good teams here, Blooming Prairie and Cherry, both pitchers are better pitchers than we've seen during the year," Mertz said. "We're young, we only have two seniors who'll be graduating, we'll be back next year-hopefully they'll be able to bring us back and I think they will."