New Ulm claims Big South Conference softball title

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Carli Botten slides into home before Pipestone Area catcher Logan Winter can tag her Thursday at Harman Park in New Ulm. For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

NEW ULM — Clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, New Ulm needed an insurance run or two against unbeaten Pipestone Area in order to get a little bit of separation in the Big South Conference championship game on Thursday.

New Ulm was able to do just that, scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab a 3-0 lead against the Arrows. After that inning, Meleah Reinhart completed her fourth inning in the pitcher’s circle by stranding the leadoff runner, giving the Eagles a 3-0 win and the outright Big South Conference softball title at Harman Park.

The Eagles (15-4, 12-1) await their opponent in the Section 2AAA playoffs, which begin next week.

New Ulm’s Ashlyn Donner pitched the first three innings to earn the win. She allowed just two hits and walked one. Reinhart pitched the final four innings and allowed one hit. She allowed a baserunner each inning, but her defense helped her escape without allowing a run.

New Ulm scored its first run in the third inning after Kayla Brandes singled to score Kaila Brudelie.

Pipestone Area had a baserunner in every inning, but failed to score thanks to New Ulm’s pitching and defense.

The Arrows stranded two runners in the third inning, but was unable to score after Mandi Miller hit a line drive to New Ulm shortstop Carli Botten, who made the diving catch and then threw out Carmen Skyberg at third base for the third out.

The Eagles scored twice in the bottom of the sixth when Brudelie reached on an error and moved up on a sac bunt. Camryn Schiro hit an infield grounder that later scored Brudelie and Botten later scored on a play at the plate on a groundout to put the Eagles ahead 3-0.

Shelby Bloemendaal took the loss for Pipestone Area.

She allowed three runs and she struck out three.