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Tigers keep it close in opener

Morris Area got the softball season started hosting Minnewaska at the University of Minnesota, Morris field Tuesday. The Lakers took an early lead and held on for an 8-5 win over the Tigers.

Minnewaska took the lead in the first inning with a three-run homer by Cassie Jacobs.

"She hit the ball very well to centerfield and with a 40 mph wind that ball was gone," said coach Mary Holmberg.

The Tigers came back in the third inning with two runs to cut the lead to 4-2.

Alissa Melberg singled and Katie VanKempen was hit by a pitch. Mary Rentz then singled in Melberg with VanKempen also scoring.

"We were always playing catch up in this game," Holmberg said.

The Tigers scored two more runs in the fourth. Britney Greenwaldt singled and scored on Melberg's single. Then Adrienne Gahm singled and scored on a ground out by Dani Schultz.

"We hit four singles in a row in the fourth and thought we had momentum," said Holmberg.

The Lakers squelched the rally with a double play to end the inning.

Three back-to-back singles by the Lakers, a sacrifice fly by Jacobs, and a Tiger error led to two final runs by Minnewaska in the sixth.

The Tigers' final run came in the fifth inning when Rentz singled, stole second and third, and scored on a ground ball to short by Kelsey Amundson.

"We stole six times, Rentz with four and VanKempen twice," said Holmberg. "I thought we made good contact at the plate.

"The girls never gave up. Each inning we tried to close the gap in scoring."

Defensively Melberg had four put outs in right field. Jen Storck picked off Jacobson in the third inning on a throw to Schultz at third.

"Anything in the air was tough because of the strong winds."

Sara Beyer went the first four innings. Amundson finished the last three. They kept the ball close to the plate.

"Minnewaska is a good hitting team," said Holmberg. "I think we kept the game in reach. This was the third game for Minnewaska and our first."