Indians prevail in extra innings

NEW ULM — A little-used drill in practice by the Sleepy Eye Indians turned out to be the difference-maker against Minnesota Valley Lutheran on Tuesday.
With runners on second and third and one out, MVL had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Indians fielded a bunt by Molly Maasz, which rolled to Sleepy Eye third baseman Jamie Fischer. Fischer faked the throw to first, turned around and fired to third to catch Jordan Marotz leaning too far off the base for the second out.
Sleepy Eye then got Shelby Hammerschmidt to strike out before scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to defeat the Chargers 5-2 in Tomahawk Conference softball play at Minnesota Valley Lutheran.
“I had a feeling that their best bet on that one was they were going to put a bunt down,” Sleepy Eye coach Tim Hoffman said of the bunt. “That’s something that we’ve worked on since we can’t go outside early in the spring. That’s one of those plays you work on in the gym that pays off for you.”
McKayla Ahlrich earned the win for the Indians. She went six innings, pitching the first four before coming back in for the eighth and ninth innings.
Karissa Schlottman took the loss for MVL. She went all nine innings and gave up seven hits and five runs, but the Indians had their struggles against her, especially early on.
“We had trouble adjusting to the speed,” Hoffman said. “We had trouble staying back, we were on top of everything. I give her credit, she was throwing strikes and she was putting the ball over the plate, we were hitting it right to people.”
The Chargers scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first after Charlotte Pfingsten scored on a wild pitch.
MVL held that 1-0 lead until the top of the fourth when Jamie Fischer scored on Josie Schieffert’s hit.
Sleepy Eye added another run in the fifth on Jamie Wells’ RBI single, but the Chargers tied it in their half of the fifth.
Kayla Perry singled to drive in Mary Kate Santelman, but Perry was later called out when she was hit by a ground ball between second and third, wiping out the run that she scored on the play.
Both teams had a few chances to either grab the lead or win the game, but bad luck or base-running mistakes hurt.
The Indians did manage to finally put the game away in the ninth, scoring three times in the process.
For Sleepy Eye, Sammy Villenueva had two hits, scored two runs and had an RBI to lead the Indians.
Pfingsten had three hits, a double and a run scored for the Chargers.
The loss dropped MVL’s record to 0-6, but coach Dave Biedenbender saw improvement from his team.
“I felt good with how we played today, we had a couple of tough losses to begin the season and I feel like we came out and hit the ball better,” Biedenbender said.?“We threw the ball better and made some nice defensive plays and we put ourselves in position to win.”
MVL is at Springfield on Monday while Sleepy Eye is at Comfrey/Cedar Mountain on Monday.

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