Awesome Blossoms miss the breaks in two losses at state softball tournament

Published 10:50 pm Thursday, June 10, 2010

MANKATO — The Awesome Blossoms couldn’t get the breaks as they lost a pair of games at the Class ‘A’ state softball tournament at Caswell Park in North Mankato Thursday.

BP had two runners thrown out at home in a 2-1 loss to Menahga in the opening round and it had two close calls go against it in a 4-3 loss to New Ulm Cathedral in the consolation round.

“In both games it came down to plays that normally work in our favor to win games and they didn’t work out for us today,” BP head coach Ali Mach said.

BP (23-4 overall) had its 21 game winning streak snapped when Menagha’s Tarah Cleveland hit a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning, moved to second on a bunt and scored on a Joy Haatja two-out single up the middle that glanced off the glove of BP second baseman Kelly Peterson.

The Blossoms had a chance to take the lead in the top of the seventh when Hunter Henderson hit a one-out ground-rule double to left field, but pinch runner Sam Ivers was caught stealing at third base.

In the second inning, BP’s Sam Johnson was out at home while trying to score on a passed ball that deflected off the back-stop right into Braves’ catcher Jada Melton’s glove.

In the sixth inning, Tricia DeBoer was thrown out for a double play at home while trying to score on a Kelly Peterson bunt.

“She was going to bunt and I was going to wait until the throw. I think I hesitated a little bit,” DeBoer said. “We took a lot of risks and sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t. That’s the way it went.”

The loss to New Ulm Cathedral was much tougher for BP to swallow.

BP loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh inning after Sam Johnson walked and Henderson singled.

Erica Manske stepped up to the plate and took two strikes before ripping a line drive off the glove of Greyhounds first baseman Lisa Helget. Manske went to first and two BP runs scored — then the ball was called foul.

“When I saw the line drive to first she touched it and I thought it was in,” said BP shortstop Tayla Jones, who was on third during the play. “I (thought we won). I was jumping up and down and then they called it foul.”

Manske knocked the next pitch up the middle and appeared to be safe as she dove into first base when the throw came in. She was called out and BP’s season ended.

“It was a tough game. The calls could’ve gone our way and they didn’t,” Mach said.

BP had just three hits in the loss to New Ulm, although it drew six walks and was hit by three pitches. The Blossoms had the bases loaded with no outs after scoring two runs in the first, but New Ulm’s Kasey Bode retired the next three hitters in order to get out of the jam.

BP had five hits and drew no walks in the loss to the Braves.

“Offensively, we weren’t on the top of our game all day today and that’s a thing we could’ve fixed. We faced some good pitching today and we were a little off-balanced,” Mach said.

The Blossoms, who had to sit through a three-hour rain delay after the third inning of their first game, were pleased to make their first ever state tournament appearance, but Mach said the team was more than a little upset that it couldn’t get a win.

“These girls will have a hard couple of days because they had some high expectations,” she said. “With the rain and all, we had a tough day. But the girls tried to will in those runs at the end and that’s how this team’s been all season. They have a taste now and we’ll work hard and get back here.”

Jones, a junior, is hoping her squad gets another chance next season at state as BP graduates just three seniors.

“We’re planning to come back here next year,” Jones said. “These teams are different from what we face in the conference, it was a good new experience.”

BP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 5 0

Menahga 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 4 2

BP pitching: Erica Manske (L), 7 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 12 K, HBP

BP hitting: Tricia DeBoer, 3-for-4, R, 2 SB; Anna Peterson, 0-for-1; Tayla Jones, 0-for-2, SB; Kelly Peterson, 0-for-3; Sam Johnson, 1-for-3; Hunter Henderson, 1-for-3, double; Manske, 0-for-2, HBP; Kelli Naatz, 0-for-2; Shelbi Swenson, 0-for-2; Sidni Olson, 0-for-1; Jenna Krell, 0-for-1

NUC 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 4 — 4 6 0

BP 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 — 3 3 2

BP pitching: Manske (L), 7 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 K

BP hitting: DeBoer, 1-for-4, double, R; Anna Peterson, 0-for-3, R, HBP; Jones, 0-for-1, 2 BBs, HBP; Kelly Peterson, 1-for-4, RBI; Johnson, 0-for-0, 3 BBs, RBI, R, HBP; Henderson, 1-for-3, BB; Manske, 0-for-4; Krell, 0-for-2; Julia Magnes, 0-for-3, RBI; Olson, BB