Gallery: Albert Lea girls move past Austin
Published 6:56 pm Thursday, May 23, 2013
ROCHESTER — The Albert Lea softball team hadn’t won a postseason game in over a decade. That streak snapped Thursday with an 8-0 win over Austin in the Section 1AAA tournament.
As evidenced by the shut out, the Tigers excelled in every facet of the game.
“We played excellent defense,” Albert Lea head coach Dan Harms said. “We had good pitching, good catching, we moved the ball around and we came ready to play.”
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In the 23 at-bats Albert Lea pitcher Haley Harms faced, she struck out three batters and allowed three hits.
In the first inning, Harms scored on a base hit by Taylor Thompson, and the Tigers never looked back.
Albert Lea extended its lead in the third inning when Megan Kortan scored on a passed ball.
The Tigers took the rest of the momentum in the top of the fourth.
Caycee Gilbertson hit a deep shot over the right-field fence for a two-run home run.
Assistant coach Karol Hansen said the pitch was a heater.
The homer was the first for Gilbertson and the first of the season for the Tigers.
“We have four, five or six girls who have the power to do that,” coach Harms said.
In practice, the Tigers have been working on hitting techniques, coach Harms said.
“We’ve really been working on slapping the ball in practice, especially in the cage,” he said. “That’s what that hit was.
“She didn’t move her feet around, she just slapped it out of here. She’s got quick hands, so that was good to see.”
The Tigers didn’t stop there. In the top of the seventh with the bases loaded, Dominique Villarreal scored Harms on a base hit. Then, Kassi Hardies earned a base hit and Austin made a few errors which allowed two more runs to score.
During the regular season, Albert Lea beat Austin 8-6 and 9-6.
“The girls really like to step up against Austin,” coach Harms said.
After defeating Austin for the third time this year, the Tigers played Rochester John Marshall in the second round of the section tournament.
Although Albert Lea held the Rockets scoreless in the final four innings, Rochester John Marshall did the most damage in the second and third innings.
The Tigers led by one run after the first inning when a hit by Villarreal scored Kortan. However, by the fourth, the Rockets held a 9-1 lead.
Next, Albert Lea plays in the consolation bracket against Northfield. The game will be played at Todd Park in Austin at 4 p.m. today.
Northfield beat Red Wing 4-1 and lost to Hastings 7-5 so far in the tournament.