Fifth inning derails Tigers softball

Published 1:06 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mankato West showcased its power hitting Tuesday against the Albert Lea softball team in a 10-2 victory at Hammer Field.

The Scarlets (1-0, 1-0 Big ) used two home runs, including a three-run shot, to break open a 2-2 game in the fifth inning and went on to score six in the frame.

Becca Ludewig led off with a solo shot to center field and later Janee Wise hit a three-run shot to give Mankato West an 8-2 lead.

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Wise’s home run came after the Tigers made two errors and gave up two base hits to keep the inning alive.

“Can’t give good teams extra swings and we did,” said Albert Lea head coach Dan Harms, whose team made five errors.

The Tigers (0-2, 0-2 Big Nine) tied the game in the fourth and had a chance to take the lead when Kim Nelson singled to right field. Courtney Schnaith rounded third for home, but was called out at the plate after a long deliberation from the home plate umpire. Schnaith appeared to slide her hand across home plate before the tag, but was ruled out.

The momentum started to swing in favor of the Scarlets and they struck for six runs in the next inning.

Albert Lea started another rally in the sixth inning, but left the bases loaded after striking out. The Tigers struck out 11 times against West starter Nikki Starkson.

Last season the Tigers were swept by Mankato West in a doubleheader, got outscored 34-0 and tallied just one hit. Starkson threw a no-hitter in the second game, but the Tigers got to her early Tuesday.

Lauren Klick went 3-for-3 with an RBI in the first inning and Albert Lea finished with seven hits, but 11 strikeouts, including six on called third strikes hindered the Tigers.

“We put the ball in play fairly well,” Harms said. “We were pleased with that.”

Albert Lea faces St. Clair Saturday in New Richland in the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Tournament, which the Tigers won last season.

Mankato West 10, Albert Lea 2

Mankato West 110 060 1 — 10 11 0

Albert Lea 101 010 0 —  2 7 5

WP—Nikki Starkson 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K

LP—Lana Howe 7 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K