Errors end Knights’ season

NORTH MANKATO – If the Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s softball team wanted to buy a vowel Tuesday night, it certainly wouldn’t have been an “E.”

The Knights committed six errors and saw their season end with a 7-3 loss to the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs in the consolation semifinals of Section 2A at Caswell Park.

St. Mary’s also couldn’t buy a clutch hit with a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the sixth that resulted in zero runs – the icing on a nine runners left on base cake.

“You don’t win games with that many errors when you get to this point of the playoffs,” St. Mary’s coach Wendy Owens said. “It’s especially tough when we’ve had such great senior leadership this year. We just can’t seem to get over the hurdle of finishing higher than fourth in the section.”

It didn’t take Bulldogs long to get to starting pitcher Laura Pelzel. Three of the first four batters had hits, with an additional sacrifice fly putting LP/HT up 2-0 in the first inning.

The Knights showed off some offense in the third when Anna Lux crushed the first pitch to right center for a triple, followed by Larissa Helget ending on second after a ground ball error. Karissa Fleck then lined a double just inside the first base line that tied the game at 2-2 and scored later on a single to right from Bethany Berkner.

St. Mary’s lead was short-lived. The Bulldogs manufactured a run to start the third with a walk, throwing error and fly ball. A second Knights error was followed by a single to left that lifted LP/HT to a 5-3 lead, with a third error leading to another run.

The bottom of the fourth saw the Knights’ fifth miscue lead to the Bulldogs’ seventh run.

Down 7-3, the Knights had runners at first and third in the fifth with one out, but weren’t able to score. Another opportunity was squandered in the top of the sixth. Pelzel singled to center to open the inning. One out later, Lux kicked up some chalk dust with a double down the third base line, followed by a walk to Helget. But LP/HT pitcher Harley Hentges coaxed a strikeout and a harmless grounder to end the threat.

St. Mary’s ends the season with a 16-8 record.

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