Morris Area starts out tournament with 2 wins
Morris Area advanced to the Section 3A softball semifinals with two wins Tuesday in Raymond.
The temperature was up to 97 degrees that afternoon in Raymond, with strong winds from the south.
Next up for the Tigers is Wabasso on Saturday at 11 a.m., also in Raymond.
Morris Area 8
The No. 3 Tigers started out tournament action with an 8-1 win over the No. 6 seed, Dawson-Boyd. Kelsey Amundson pitched a one-hitter to hold the Yellow Jackets to just one run.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. With one out Dani Schultz singled and reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Haley Henrichs. Mary Rentz then singled to score Schultz. Rentz scored on a single by Sara Beyer.
One more run came in the fourth inning. Amundson singled, Alissa Melberg bunted, and courtesy runner Hannah Sayles scored on errors.
The Tigers took control of the game in the fifth inning, scoring five more runs. Rentz led off with a double, Beyer reached on an error, and Kelsey Greenwaldt singled. Melberg was on by an error and Shadow Olson walked. All five scored on hits and errors.
"Rentz and Beyer had two hits each, an RBI each, and a double," said coach Mary Holmberg. "The five runs in the fifth gave us a more comfortable lead.
Amundson gave up just one hit, one earned run, four walks, and struck out four.
"Amundson did a very nice job for us," said Holmberg. "This was a must-win game for us."
Dawson-Boyd's opportunity was in the second when the bases were loaded with no outs. Rentz caught a line drive and then threw the runner out at first base for the double play.
"Rentz was busy at short with three assists and six put outs," said Holmberg. "Everyone played well defensively."
The Tigers committed only one error in the win over Dawson-Boyd.
Morris Area 8
Next the Tigers knocked off No. 2 MACCRAY 8-4 in the winner's bracket.
With Morris Area trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, the Tigers broke the game open on Kelsey Greenwaldt's three-run homer.
"Greeney crushed the ball over the temporary fastpitch fence and it almost cleared the permanent fence," said Holmberg. "That hit turned the game around for us."
Morris had scored one run in the top of the first inning. Schultz led off the game with a single and reached third on a double by Rentz. She would have scored, but the ball went under the fence. Beyer then reached on an infield error and Schultz scored on a ground ball on the right side by Heather Gagner.
MACCRAY tied it up in the bottom of the second and took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third.
Olson led off the Tiger rally in the fifth with a base hit, but was out on a fielder's choice by Schultz who reached on a sacrifice bunt by Haley Henrichs.
"We sacrificed an out to get Schultz in scoring position," said Holmberg. "MACCRAY's catcher Brandi Bodin is an excellent catcher who makes few mistakes."
Rentz then hit a single to score Schultz and tie the game.
"Rentz is a clutch hitter and has come through for us all season."
Beyer then hit the ball hard again into the infield and reached on an error. Gagner then singled to score Rentz.
"Gagner had a great day," said Holmberg. "She was 3-for-4 with that big RBI."
Beyer then ended up on second and Kayla Evink came in to pinch run for her.
Greenwaldt then hit the second pitch for the towering home run into left center. The three-run shot put the Tigers ahead 6-2.
The Tigers continued to put pressure on the Wolverines as MacKenzie Weatherly and Melberg hit back-to-back singles.
The Tigers scored two more crucial runs in the sixth. Henrichs reached on an error and Rentz hit another double which rolled under the fence advancing Henrichs to third base. Henrichs scored on an error.
With a first-and-third situation, Gagner faked a bunt and Beyer found herself in the hot box, scoring Rentz from third.
"Those were huge runs as MACCRAY came back to score two runs in the seventh inning."
Defensively, MACCRAY put pressure on the Tigers in every inning. MACCRAY loaded the bases in the second inning on two Tiger errors. Weatherly pitched out of the jam with a strike out and a nice catch by Bri Neuman in right field.
The same situation came in the third inning. The lead-off hitter walked and then Rentz made a "gem of a play." A relay from Neuman to Rentz to Henrichs cut down the runner trying to advance to third. Rentz tracked down the ball to make a great throw to Henrichs who made the tag.
"Rentz and Henrichs made another good play in the same inning to throw a runner out at third."
"Weatherly was tough up the middle defensively, getting three assists," said Holmberg. "Every out was huge."
Olson and Neuman made two catches apiece in the outfield. Schultz threw out a base stealer in the fourth on a lead-off walk.
Weatherly scattered 10 hits, gave up two walks, and struck out six. She threw 110 pitches of which 71 were strikes.
"Weatherly pitched well," said Holmberg. "She kept the ball low.
"Weatherly and Amundson gave it all they had on Tuesday," said Holmberg. "The girls played hard. We made some defensive mistakes, but made up for them with our offensive play."