Franta’s walk-off homer leads Greyhounds by Knights in 2A

Photo courtesy of Don Borstad New Ulm Cathedral’s Sydnee Helget slides into home in the Greyhounds’ first win of the day on Saturday at Caswell Park in North Mankato. Cathedral topped Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey first before beating Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s.

By Jeff Meder

Journal Sports Writer

NORTH MANKATO — Lauryn Franta’s home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning helped New Ulm Cathedral defeat Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 8-6 on Saturday in the Section 2A softball tournament on Saturday.

The Greyhounds will play again at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Caswell Park.

“I was freaking out,” Lauryn Franta said of her home run. “I was like, ‘Well, if we go to extra innings, we go to extra innings.’ I wanted it to be done, so it felt good.”

St. Mary’s awaits the winner of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. game between Sleepy Eye and Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey. The Knights will play the winner of that game at 7 p.m. Tuesday, with the winner of the that game taking on Cathedral Thursday.

In the first inning, Sarah Mohr reached base on a St. Mary’s infielder error. Emily Schommer popped out the catcher and Josie Pautzke struck out. Franta stepped up to the plate and she clobbered a Lexi Weiss pitch over the right-field fence.

“It’s amazing and we never quit,” Cathedral head coach Jamie Portner said. “We never quit and we knew that we could come back.”

Lauren Hoffmann singled down the right field line. She moved to second on Alexa Owens’ single. Cassie Heinrichs reached on an error, which loaded the bases. Emily Stevens drew a walk to score Hoffmann for a 1-0 St. Mary’s lead.

With the bases loaded, Pautzke was able to get out of the jam by getting Leah Weiss to pop out and she struck out Gabby Helget to end the threat.

Madison Mathiowetz walked, moved to second on a sacrifice, went to third on Sara Zinnel’s single and she scored on a sacrifice, making it 2-0 in the top of the second inning.

Cathedral’s Shay Ubl walked in the third inning. Sydnee Helget came in as a courtesy runner for Ubl. She moved to second Megan Haala’s sacrifice. Mohr’s single scored Helget for the Greyhound’s first run.

Lily Franta walked and she later scored to tie the game at 2-2. Mohr got a hit and she scored on Pautzke’s right-field single, giving Cathedral a 3-2 lead.

St. Mary’s regained the advantage in the fifth inning. Heinrichs belted a double to the left-field fence. Weiss hit the softball up the middle to score Heinrichs and tie the game at 3-3. Stevens cracked a single between two Greyhound defenders. Cathedral committed an error, which scored Stevens to regain the lead of 4-3 for the Knights.

Cathedral responded by scoring two runs of its own in the bottom of the same inning. A Lauryn Franta hit scored Abby Furth and Lily Brennan for a 5-4 advantage. Lauryn Franta scored on a sacrifice by Heidi Hoffman, making it 6-4 Cathedral.

Weiss walked in the top of the seventh inning. Windschitl entered as a courtesy runner. With two outs, Madesen Roberts smashed a Josie Pautzke offering over the left-field fence to tie the game at 6-apiece.

Then in the seventh inning, Mohr reached base on a St. Mary’s error by the shortstop. Schommer fouled out to the catcher and Weiss retired Pautzke on a called third strike. Lauryn Franta stepped to the plate and with one stroke of the bat, she successfully completed the Greyhounds’ comeback.

Pautzke was the winning pitcher. She pitched seven innings, gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

Weiss took the loss. She went 6 2/3 innings, giving up eight runs (two earned) on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

Lauryn Franta 2 for 4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Mohr was 1 for 4 with a hit, two runs scored, and an RBI. Lily Franta, Lily Brennan, Abby Furth and Sydnee Helget each had one run scored apiece.

Roberts had two RBIs and the home run.

“It was a good game,” St. Mary’s head coach Wendy Owens said. “It was a roller coaster of a game, but we need to play more even steven.”

St. Mary’s earned its spot against Cathedral by defeating Cleveland 8-2 on Saturday.

Weiss was the winning pitcher in Game 1, going seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

The Knights scored five runs in the first inning. Two of the five runs came on Heinrichs’ two-run home run. She also hit a solo shot over the left field fence in the sixth inning.

McKenna Robb was the losing pitcher. She pitched seven innings, gave up eight runs on seven hits and she walked five batters.

Heinrichs had two runs scored, three RBIs and two home runs. Weiss went 2 for 2 with an RBI and Owens went 1 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored.

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