Eagles win key SCC battle
NEW ULM – A day after a double-digit victory over one South Central Conference rival, the New Ulm softball team was faced up with another familiar foe.
The St. Peter Saints made their annual trip to Harman park Tuesday evening and thanks to Sarah Nelson’s four-hit performance, the Eagles were able to earn a 9-1 victory.
Nelson was 4-for-4 at the plate with a home run and four RBIs, coming up just a triple short of the cycle. Brittany Hoffmann and Sydney Schuck each had a pair of hits with Schuck adding two RBIs.
Schuck also picked up the victory striking out six batters in five innings while allowing just four hits and no walks. Hannah Backer allowed one hit and one run in two innings of work. Carolyn Conlon took the loss for the Saints.
“It was a full team effort again,” New Ulm head coach Kristi Andersen Loose said. “We had solid pitching, solid defense and hitting. It was just timely all the way around. We were able to manufacture a couple of runs and put the ball in play and just made sure they were ready for whatever pitch was coming at them.”
After a scoreless first inning, Nelson was able to put the Eagles on the board in the second. Katie Forst led off the inning with a single to center field on the first pitch she saw and later stole second base. On the very next pitch, Nelson got a hold of one and sent it deep over the left field fence for a home run to give her team an early 2-0 lead.
Schuck shut down the Saints with a six-pitch inning in the following frame and then Nelson stepped up again in the home half of the third.
After Hoffmann scored on a throwing error, Nelson made solid contact again as she drove in Forst with a base hit to center. Briana Sieve laid down a perfect bunt later in the inning to add another run as the Eagles jumped out to a 5-0 advantage.
Schuck continued to pitch on a near-perfect basis for the rest of her outing and the Eagles were able to add two more runs in the fifth on back-to-back wild pitches to pad the lead for Backer. Kelly Hilligross drove in the lone run for St. Peter in the top half of the sixth and three more double’s for New Ulm in the bottom half led to another two runs.
Hoffmann, Schuck and Nelson each connected for doubles in the Eagle’s last at-bat and Backer had no problem with the Saint’s in the seventh.
With the victory the Eagles improve to 4-0 in the conference and 8-1 overall. Now that the regular season is just about half over and having just one loss, the defending Class AA state champions are in prime condition heading into May.
“I’ve got a great team, they should have a ton of confidence because they are playing really, really well,” Andersen Loose said. “They have been able to pull through some tough situations. They have had comebacks, they have had games in bad weather, good weather and they have been able to hang in there through it all. It’s a different team from last year, it’s a very fun team to have and they are just playing very well right now – things are clicking.”
New Ulm will host Fairmont on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.