Willems blasts MLC?to victory

NEW ULM – The Martin Luther College softball team fell 6-5 in its first game of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference crossover against North Central, but it rebounded to defeat Northwestern College 6-5 in its second game.

The Knights fell behind 1-0 to North Central in the first inning, but they scored two runs in the second and fifth innings,and they led 4-3 going into the seventh inning.

North Central was able to rally, however, and scored the three go ahead runs on a double by freshman Megan Myers.

MLC loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but the game ended when Amanda Fogle failed to tag up at second base on MacCartney Mendolla’s sacrifice fly to center field.

Laura Miller received the loss for the Knights. She pitched all seven innings, and gave up two earned runs on 14 hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

“Laura pitched a fine game out here today, and really did everything she could for us to win this game today,” MLC head coach Barb Leopold said.

The Knights were the ones to draw first blood in Game 2 when Emily Waldek doubled and later scored on a single by Maddy Scott in the first inning.

Northwestern took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, but Amber Krause hit a two-run double and later scored in the Knights’ half of the inning to put them back in the lead.

It looked like MLC might give up another comeback win after giving up a run in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to fall behind 5-4, but MLC sophomore Sara Willems took it upon herself to make sure that did not happen.

After Morgan Kumbier singled to get on base in the bottom of the sixth, Willems blasted a two-run home run over the left-centerfield fence to score the eventual winning runs.

“I really just wanted to focus on getting my hips through and making contact, and I ended up hitting it over the fence,” Willems said.

Winning pitcher Kathryn Marquardt did not allow any hits in the top of the seventh to secure the win for the Knights.

Marquardt pitched a complete game and gave up four earned runs on 12 hits and one strikeout.

“We have come from behind to win a lot of our games this season,” Willems said. “It’s just seems to be part of who we are.”

MLC (16-10, 10-5) plays two more games at home today. The Knights start their day at 12 p.m. against Northland and then take on St. Scholastica later in the day at 4 p.m.

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