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Cougars take third in UMAC tourney

Cougar MacKenzie Weatherly, a 2011 Morris Area graduate, pitches for the Cougars in game one of the UMAC Championships Friday in Morris.

The University of Minnesota, Morris hosted the Upper Midwest Athletic Softball Tournament where the Cougars finished 1-2 to take third place.

In the end, the lowest seed coming in became the champions. Bethany Lutheran became the first No. 4 seed to capture the postseason tournament. The lower-seeded team won every game in Morris during the playoffs.

Martin Luther 14, UM-Morris 4

As the No. 2 seed, Minnesota Morris was upset by No. 3 Martin Luther in a 14-4 loss in Friday’s first game, putting the Cougars in the elimination bracket.

The Knights were ready to go from the first pitch, hitting a triple on the first offering from Sam Hanson. Martin Luther pushed across five runs before the first inning was over.

The Knights added two more in the top of the second to take a 7-0 lead out of the gate.

In the bottom of the second Minnesota Morris responded with a pair of runs. Kelsey Draper reached on a double after a dropped foul ball. Mandy Allman drove in Draper with a single to right center. Kristy Hoge came up and doubled to left center, scoring Allman. Morris got within four as Sam Hanson scored on Draper's double to left center in the third.

The game would stay 7-3 until the fifth when the Knights exploded for seven runs on five hits. The big hit was a three-run triple to put the game out of reach.

Minnesota Morris scored a run in the bottom of the fifth, but it was not enough.

UM-Morris 6, St. Scholastica 2

The Cougars defeated No. 1 St. Scholastica 6-2 to stay alive Friday.

Minnesota Morris got on the board in the top of the first, rallying with two outs. Three straight walks loaded the bases and then Cassie Sowada singled through the right side to score Olson.

In the bottom of the second St. Scholastica picked up a run with a two-out double, tying the game at one.

The Cougars took advantage of two errors, two walks and four hits of their own to score five runs in the top of the third taking a 6-1 lead. Anderson singled to third and scored on Hanson's one-out double to right. Draper then singled to put runners on first and third. Sowada reached on an error before Mandy Allman had an infield single, allowing Hanson to score and keep the bases loaded. Kristy Hoge reached on an error which made it 4-1. Laura Lhotka then walked picking up an RBI making it 5-1. Shelby Peterson walked with two outs, making it 6-1 after Allman scored.

Both teams threatened a few times from the fourth to the sixth inning, but could not do any damage. St. Scholastica left runners on second and third in the fourth and a runner on second in the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh the Saints picked a leadoff double, but MacKenzie Weatherly got two quick outs. Two singles followed as CSS scored once, but it was not enough as Allman got a pop up to end the game, knocking out the UMAC regular-season champs.

Martin Luther 9, UM-Morris 5

Minnesota Morris came up short, falling to Martin Luther again on Saturday morning as they were eliminated from the UMAC Championships.

The Knights took advantage of seven errors by the Cougars to win 9-5. Morris kept pace in the hits department with 11 in seven innings.

Emily Waldek stayed hot against UMM as she led off the game with a double to center field. She scored on a one-out sacrifice fly to right field, giving MLC the early lead.

The Cougars tied it in the second when Kristy Hoge doubled to center, scoring Mandy Allman, who had reached on a fielder's choice.

The Knights broke the game open in the top of the third, scoring five runs on four hits and four UMM errors. Andrea Biedenbender had the big hit in the inning, tripling to right center driving in two.

Minnesota Morris picked up two runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull within three. Sam Hanson tripled to right and Kelsey Draper walked to start the inning. Ashley Splonskowski pinch ran for Draper and stole second to put runners on second and third with nobody out. With one out, Allman singled to short to load the bases. Hoge singled up the middle driving in Hanson and Splonskowski. An error loaded the bases back up for the Cougars, but a fly out and strike out ended the threat.

Martin Luther picked up a run in the fifth to take a 7-3 lead.

Morris had a chance to score in the bottom of the fifth, but stranded runners on second and third after three straight outs.

The Knights took advantage scoring a pair of runs in the top of the sixth.

The Cougars responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull within four. Lhotka and Decker singled with one out. On Decker's single pinch runner Rikki Beaver came around to score on an error. After a groundout, Decker scored on a wild pitch. Molly Olson and Hanson singled to keep the threat alive, but it ended with a pop up to short, stranding two.

Morris put a runner on base in the seventh, but failed to score as they fell 9-5 to end their season. 

Hoge finished the tournament with five RBI to lead all players in the UMAC. Hanson was second with seven total bases over the two-day tournament.