Tigers fall to consolation bracket

Published 8:23 pm Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hanna Schilling of Albert Lea pitches Thursday during the Subsection 2AA South semifinals at St. Peter. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Hanna Schilling of Albert Lea pitches Thursday during the Subsection 2AA South semifinals at St. Peter. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

ST. PETER — Fireworks in the fifth weren’t enough to keep the Albert Lea softball team afloat.

The Tigers’ 13 hits were offset by eight errors Thursday during a six-inning 18-8 loss in the Subsection 2AA South semifinals at St. Peter.

“We’ve got to clean up the defense,” said Albert Lea coach Dan Harms. “We had way too many errors. It wasn’t a very well-played game for us.”

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After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first, the Tigers’ held the Saints scoreless in the second and third and cut their deficit in half in the top of the fourth with an RBI double by Allison Grandstrand.

However, No. 1-seed St. Peter (15-6, 9-3 Big South) scored 10 runs in the fourth.

In the fifth, Albert Lea (9-11, 4-7 Big Nine) needed to score at least two runs to avoid the 10-run mercy rule, and the Tigers responded by batting around the order and scoring seven runs.

“All of the sudden we started relaxing, and good things were happening,” Harms said. “It’s just like we were playing a little too tense from the start.”

The Tigers scored their first three runs of the inning with no outs. Meliza Lopez led off with a base hit and scored on a single by Taylor Thompson. Dayna Edwards drove in courtesy runner Bethany Tennis, and Thompson scored when Megan Kortan reached base on an error.

A sacrifice by Allison Grandstrand drove in Edwards, and Kassi Hardies followed with an RBI double to center field to cut Albert Lea’s deficit to six runs, 12-6.

Hardies scored on an error, and Hannah Schwemmler crossed the dish on a sacrifice by Jenna Seavey.

With two outs, a 12-8 deficit and runners on the corners, the Tigers had a chance to cut their deficit to two runs. Thompson hit a shot to the fence but was robbed of a three-run homer by the Saints’ center fielder.

Albert Lea held St. Peter scoreless in the bottom of the fifth but stranded Kortan after a double in the sixth and gave up six runs in the bottom of the inning to invoke the mercy rule.

Eight Albert Lea players had hits, and Thompson, Edwards, Schwemmler, Lopez and Kathryn Flaherty had two each.

Hanna Schilling took the pitching loss. She struck out one batter and allowed 16 hits, 12 earned runs, seven walks and a home run.

After beating Faribault Academies in the subsection quarterfinals, the playoffs became double elimination.

Next, Albert Lea will play Tri-City United (5-14, 3-9 Minnesota River) in the Section 2AA first round of the consolation bracket at noon Saturday at Caswell Park in Mankato.

Tri-City United, the south subsection’s No. 7 seed, upset NRHEG 13-0 in the quarterfinals and lost 7-0 Thursday against No. 3-seed Maple River in the semifinals.

“There’s a chance to rebound,” Harms said. “I told the girls that I’m not ready to be done. We can still make some noise in the loser’s bracket. It’s do or die.”