Greyhounds batter Buccaneers to finish 5th

NORTH MANKATO — New Ulm Cathedral senior Lauryn Franta was unable to hold back the tears after celebrating with teammates on Friday morning at Caswell Park.

Franta and the Greyhounds just wrapped up the consolation bracket championship, defeating Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 8-2. After the team took pictures near the pitcher’s circle, Franta wiped away tears and hugged her fellow teammates one last time.

“Bittersweet,” she said of the feeling as she looked at her teammates. “I’m glad that we got where we did, and sad. We did the best we could and we did everything we could and I’m proud of our team and everything we’ve done this year, I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

The Greyhounds finished the season 24-3 and were knocked to the consolation bracket on Thursday in the quarterfinals against Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian in a 6-2 loss. To say that loss woke the Cathedral bats up would be an understatement as Cathedral defeated Isle 18-1 in four innings in Thursday’s second game to advance to Friday morning’s action, where the hitting continued.

“It was tough, but we came back and played better than ever,” Franta said of Thursday’s loss.

The Buccaneers struck first in the bottom of the second. Makayla Paulson singled to left, scoring Allison Rients. WEM loaded the bases and it looked like a big inning was in store, but the Greyhounds threw a runner out at home to keep the game 1-0 and with one out. With the bases still loaded, Josie Pautzke got Brielle Bartelt to fly out to Megan Haala in left, who fired a throw back in to prevent a run from scoring. Pautzke got the final out on a fly ball to Franta in center.

That defensive stand seemed to fire up the Greyhounds because in the top of the third, they scored five times to take control of the game.

Emily Schommer delivered an RBI single and Pautzke helped her cause with a two-run single. Franta followed with an RBI grounder to short and later, Abby Beranek got in the act with a sacrifice fly to center.

Cathedral went ahead 6-1 in the fourth inning when Sarah Mohr scored. In the sixth, the Greyhounds pushed across two more runs and held on for the win.

It was a season where the Greyhounds were inexperienced in some areas but still had five seniors that made an impact. On Friday, those seniors and the rest of the squad finished the season as winners.

“It’s heartbreaking, it’s super heartbreaking,” Franta said. “We played great this last game and I’m super proud of all of us.”