By Jeremy Behnke
Journal Sports Editor
NEW ULM - New Ulm's Tori Botten didn't have much run support midway through the first game of the Section 3AA playoffs against St. James.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm starting pitcher Tori Botten winds up to deliver a pitch during the Eagles’ win against St. James in the opening round of the Section 3AA playoffs Tuesday at Harman Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
New Ulm had scored only one run until the fourth inning, but Botten, who was also pitching, took matters into her own hands and delivered a two-out, two-run home run over the fence in left to give New Ulm a 3-0 lead. New Ulm added two more runs and defeated St. James to end St. James' season.
New Ulm then met up with Jackson County Central and the hot bats continued for New Ulm.
New Ulm advanced in the Section 3AA playoffs with a 13-3, five-inning victory over the Huskies. New Ulm now faces Marshall at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday in Marshall. New Ulm will play twice on Saturday.
Botten's home run set the tone the rest of the way for the Eagles in the first game. She said she knew it was gone the second it left the bat.
"Oh yeah, I mean I was hoping so," Botten said.
New Ulm managed to score its first run of the game in the third inning when Katie Forst doubled and later scored on an RBI single from Rachel Strandmark.
Botten's blast in the fourth scored Ellie Schneider and Hannah Backer followed with a solo home run to make it 4-0.
Schneider's RBI single in the fifth gave the Eagles their fifth run of the game, which was more than enough for Botten, who gave up four hits and struck out 12.
"We just went inside and outside, just mixed it up and I just had to trust my defense," Botten said.
In the second game, New Ulm gave up a run in the top of the first, but scored three times in the bottom of the first to take the lead. The Eagles had no problem scoring runs and they ended the contest with a solo home run off the bat of Kali Denn in the bottom of the fifth.
Botten got the win the second game. She gave up 10 hits and three runs.
The Eagles scored three runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning. The Eagles had a big inning in the third when it scored five times before pushing across two in the fourth and one more in the fifth.
Abby Kamm scored a couple of runs and had an RBI and Rachel Strandmark had three hits and three runs scored. Ellie Schneider had another big day at the plate, finishing with three hits, two runs and two RBIs.
"We knew that they had a lot of momentum coming in from a close game and we just wanted to jump on them right away in the first inning," Schneider said.
Brittany Denn had two hits and two RBIs and Kali Denn had three hits and two RBIs. Hannah Backer also had two hits for New Ulm.
The Eagles finished with 14 hits in the game.
"It's a lot of fun," Schneider said of the offensive outburst. "You're excited for your teammates, ones that have been struggling, they hit the ball and we had different people coming through at different times."
Now the Eagles face Marshall on Saturday in Marshall. The Eagles know that they have the targets on their backs and they're ready.
"I think we're kind of used to it, we just need to keep playing our game," Schneider said. "If we can play our game, we know we can play with them and we'll be really tough to beat."