Southland and BP meet again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 28, 2003

It was hard to tell that Tuesday's Section 1A tilt between Southland and Blooming Prairie was loser's bracket matchup, so excellent was the caliber of play. Fine defense, quality pitching, clutch hitting, a roaring crowd -- the game had it all, everything except for lots of runs. Southland would be the team left standing, as they ended BP's season 1-0 behind a four-hit shutout from freshman Michelle Landherr.

"We're staying focused and peaking at the right time," said Southland head coach Karleen Retterath. "Our seniors are really leading us right now."

"You couldn't ask for a better game out there," said BP head coach Chad Gimbel. "We just ran into a hot pitcher today."

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Both pitchers showed signs of vulnerablility in the first. Amber Vogt and Amanda Schlund had consecutive one-out singles for Blooming Prairie in the top of the inning, but Rebel starter Michelle Landherr limited the dangerous Hilary Jones to fielder's choice grounder. With runners at the corners, Landherr struck out Mindy Johnson to end the threat.

Amanda Landherr and Amy Walerak scratched out a couple of infield singles with one out in the Southland half of the inning. BP starter Emily Wencl got out of that scrape thanks to her second baseman Laura Wurst, who turned Shannon Halbach's liner into an inning-ending double play.

That would be the last sign of offense for a while. Michelle Landherr retired 13 Blossoms in a row before Wencl got a two-out single in the fifth off the glove of the third baseman. The other Landherr, center fielder Amanda, kept the streak going with a diving catch to snare Jones' drive in the fourth.

Wencl was able to match her with three no-hit innings of her own until Southland broke through in the fifth. Senior Bridget Felten started it off with an opposite field double into the gap in right-center. After Sara Walerak sacrificed her to third, Carrie Shawback drove in what would be the game's only run by slapping a base hit through a drawn-in Blossom infield.

"We had faith that we could get it done," Shawback said.

BP would get two more chances to pull even however. Vogt got all the way to second base with one out in the sixth when Southland failed to cover first base on her ground ball to third. Michelle Landherr defused the situation and got the last two outs against the heart of the Blossom order.

BPHS got the tying run into scoring position in the seventh when Johnson led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. But Landherr was up to this one last challenge, fanning pinch-hitter Stephanie Njos for her sixth strikeout of the game and getting her opposite number Wencl to ground out to end the game.

The freshman also did not walk a batter over the course of her four-hit shutout.

Wencl threw well in a losing effort, allowing just four hits and walking none as well.

Blooming Prairie wraps up their season 11-12 to go along with their Section 1A third-place finish.

"We were playing our best ball at the end of the season," Gimbel said. "Our seniors really came to play in the playoffs, they didn't want the season to end."

Box Score:

Blooming Prairie 0Southland 1


Long 3b3000Schroeder ss3000

Vogt cf3010A.Landherr cf3010

Schlund c3010A.Walerak lf3010

Jones lf3000Halbach dh3000

Johnson dh3010Chapek rf2000

Noble rf2000Felten 1b2010

Peterson 1b2000

O'Connell cr0100

Njos ph1000S.Walerak 3b1000

Wencl p3010Shawback 2b2011

Miller ss2000M.Landherr p2000

Irvin cr0000


2B--Felten. S--Noble, S.Walerak




Blooming Prairie

Wencl L641100


M.Landherr W740006