Sluggers win 3 in final week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2003

The Albert Lea Sluggers began the final week of the 14-and-under Southern Minny League fast-pitch softball season with a doubleheader at Hammer Field against USC. The Sluggers were short three of their regulars for the night, but team depth has been a strength all year and it showed in a doubleheader sweep of the Rebels.

The Sluggers scored early and often in taking a 16-1 win in the first game. The game was shortened to three innings by the league’s 15-run rule. Winning pitcher Dezi Jacobs struck out three in getting her second win of the season. She also started a seven-run outburst in the first inning by ripping a leadoff triple. Chelsea Barrett led the offense with three runs scored and had two hits, including a double. Jaclyn Rehmke also had two hits. Marisa Cottrell scored three runs and added one hit with Shelby Vietze also getting a hit for the Sluggers. Barrett had a nice defensive game from her catcher position, throwing out two Rebel runners on the bases.

In an exciting second game the teams were forced to play extra innings to decide a winner. With the game tied at five in the bottom of the fourth the Rebels had the bases loaded and nobody out. At that point the Slugger defense stiffened and would not allow the Rebels to push across the go-ahead run. When neither team could score in the fifth, a sixth inning was played. The league uses the International tiebreaker in extra innings which allows each team to start the inning with a runner on second. Hali Hendrickson alertly took third when the Rebel catcher overthrew the pitcher after the first pitch of the inning. She then scored as Brianna Arthur reached on an infield error. The Sluggers added three more runs and claimed a 9-6 win. Jacobs had two hits and three runs. Evin Sather, Missy Webb, Claire Paczkowski, Cottrell, Hendrickson, and Arthur added one hit each. Sather recorded her fifth pitching win, going the first five innings. Paczkowski was busy behind the plate as she recorded four putouts in addition to throwing out a runner on an attempted steal.

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The Austin Eagles were the opponents on the final night of the season. The Eagles took an early lead with five runs in the second. Meanwhile the Sluggers were unable to get their first hit until the fourth when Hali Hendrickson broke the ice with a single to score Webb. A fifth-inning rally fell just short as the game ended with the bases full of Sluggers and Austin hung on for a 6-3 decision in the first game. Sather struck out four in taking the pitching loss. Other Slugger hits in the game were by Kat Ladwig, Sather, and Rehmke.

Game two also started slow as the Eagles took an early lead and led 3-1 heading into the home half of the third. At that point that the previously slumbering bats came to life. Five runs scored in the third to take the lead and 12 more in the fourth to end the game 18-3. Jacobs pitched well in gaining her third win. She struck out six. Niki Hendrickson led the offensive onslaught with three hits and Barrett added two. Contributing one hit each were Ladwig, Jacobs, Sather, Cottrell, Webb and Hali Hendrickson.

League play ended with the Sluggers holding a record of 20-8, good for a second-place finish behind Owatonna VFW Blue and just ahead of Austin.