Cathedral takes Tomahawk crown, 10th straight title

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm Cathedral’s Abby Beranek (10) drives a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader agsint Minnesota Valley Lutheran Thursday at Harman Park in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — Ten in a row.

That’s how many Tomahawk Conference titles the Cathedral Greyhounds’ softball team has won in a row after Thursday’s 15-1 conference win over Minnesota Valley Lutheran in five innings at Harman Park.

The Greyhounds continued to assert their dominance in the second game of a doubleheader on Thursday, picking up a 21-3 nonconference win over MVL in four innings.

After the Game 1 conference victory, Cathedral co-head coach Jamie Portner said that the conference championship was a nice boost of confidence before playoffs begin next week.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Portner said. “It’s always nice to be first at something and we feel like other teams might have to play up to our level once we have that conference title under our belt.”

Josie Pautzke picked up the win for Cathedral in Game 1, pitching four innings and allowing four hits, two walks and one run with four strikeouts. MVL’s Stephanie Dalueg received the loss in Game 1, pitching four innings while allowing 14 hits and one walk.

Cathedral struck right away in the first inning for three runs, led by an RBI double from Lauryn Franta and an RBI single by Heidi Hoffman. The second inning, however, is when the Greyhounds really broke things open.

Cathedral added eight runs on seven hits, two walks and two errors. Sarah Mohr, Jenna Helget, Josie Pautzke and Rose Hazuka all added RBI singles, while Abby Beranek added a two-run single and Franta added an RBI double to give the Greyhounds an early 11-0 lead.

MVL’s defense committed four errors total during the game, making things tougher on Dalueg.

MVL got baserunners on in the third on a throwing error to first and a single by Grace Bauer, but Pautzke got back-to-back strikeouts and forced a popout to end the inning unscathed. The Chargers then added their first and only run in the fourth after Lexi Fischer doubled to lead off the inning.

Dalueg then got an infield single before a late throwing error to first allowed Fischer to score. The Chargers left the bases loaded in that fourth inning.

“I was pleased with our offense,” MVL coach Barb Leopold said. “We did leave runners on base, but we were just standing up there and were determined to hit the ball. We did a nice job and had some nice, solid hits.”

Cathedral added its final four runs in a fourth inning that was highlighted with a two-run homer to right by Hazuka. Hazuka was 2 for 3 with three RBIs and three runs scored in Game 1.

Also for Cathedral in Game 1, Mohr was 3 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI, Helget added two hits, Franta had two doubles and Beranek added a pair of singles and a pair of RBIs.

For MVL in Game 1, Lauren Paulsen added a single, while Grace Peterson and Bauer each had a single. Fischer had a double and scored a run.

Cathedral was determined to bounce back after a loss to Edgerton this past Saturday and did so without question against MVL.

“We definitely came back with better bats today than we did against Edgerton,” Portner said. “But it was a good game for our confidence going into playoffs. We were happy with what we saw. We had some good defensive plays, so we’re excited to keep rolling.”

In Game 2 of the evening, Cathedral struck for 10 runs in the first inning alone. The Greyhounds were led by Hazuka, who went 4 for 4 with six RBIs, and Franta, who was 3 for 3 with four RBIs.

Beranek was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. Mohr and Helget scored three and four runs, respectively.

Pautzke got the Game 2 win with two innings pitched, three hits and one earned run allowed.

MVL got a single each by Bauer and Peterson and a double each by Paulsen and Fischer, with Fischer’s double driving in a run. Fischer was charged with the loss in Game 2 for MVL, allowing seven earned runs, eight walks and ten hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.

Cathedral (14-2, 6-0) hosts Cleveland at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, while Minnesota Valley Lutheran (4-10, 1-5) awaits playoffs on Tuesday.