By Tom Murphy
It is as if someone flipped a switch from on to off. The Spring Grove/Caledonia softball team reached the section finals with three straight shutouts. But in the finals at Austin last Tuesday, the Lions were held to just one run in the double elimination tournament losing to Kasson-Mantorville and Winona Cotter.
Kasson-Mantorville wins opening game
The state’s second ranked team shut out SG/C 5-0 in the first round. C/SG’s Samantha Bratland kept the game scoreless through three innings before K-M put together a scoring string in the next innings.
The Warriors could only get two hits in the game. They were singles by Shannon Doering and Kayla Krueger. Bratland earned her team’s only walk. The Komets played errorless ball behind pitcher Madison Damon who struck out 13 Lions.
Bratland gave up seven hits and walked two while striking out four with four earned runs. Her team had an uncharacteristic game of fielding with three errors.
“It was a tough night for us,” coach Shelly Anderson said. “In both games, our bats just could not get going. The opposing pitchers did a great job, especially Damon,” she said.
Cotter upsets Lions
After shutting out Winona Cotter to win the sub-section title, the Lions were beaten by Cotter 5-1 for the chance to play K-M for the title. K-M beat Cotter to advance to the state.
Cotter opened a three run lead before SG/C could get on the board. Bratland gave up four total earned runs and struck out eight while walking four. Her team had a better game defensively with one error.
Offensively, the Lions were limited to two hits. Those were singles by Taylor Elton and Shannon Doering.
There were plenty of opportunities for the offense as it earned six walks and reached base on two Rambler errors. On the night, the Lions left nine runners on base.
“We just couldn’t find a rhythm at the plate,” Anderson lamented. “Our opponents did a better job of putting the ball in play forcing us to make the plays.
“Our defense and pitching had been stellar thus far in the playoffs,” Anderson said. “When you are facing the top teams, everything has to go your way.”
“I thought our attitudes and efforts were positive and that we would get those big offensive innings, but it just wasn’t to be this year,” Anderson concluded. “The girls and coaches are proud of all the accomplishments this season and plan on working hard to continue our winning ways.”
Chatfield second in 1A section
Chatfield was defeated by defending section champ Blooming Prairie 3-1 in the 1A finals. The Gophers had been the only team to beat SG/C during the regular season in Minnesota play.