Eagles advance in 6A playoffs
The New York Mills Eagles softball team advanced to the second round of the Section 6A playoffs with a 6-3 defeat against a cagey team from Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.
The Comets defeated Parkers Prairie in the opening Pigtail Round 11-3 to advance to face the Eagles.
It was Hillcrest Academy's first win of the season as they came into the game with an overall record of 0-9.
"They're definitely better than their record indicates," NY Mills Assistant Coach Greg Esala said.
The Eagles used the double play to stave off trouble in multiple innings, including the seventh.
Up 6-2 with one away, starting pitcher Autumn Roberts walked Kristie Thorkildson, the Comets' number nine batter, and she scored on a monster double to the fence by leadoff hitter Gracia Larson.
Larson was 3-4 on the day with two doubles.
She advanced to third on a base hit by Katie Thorkildson and the tying run came to the plate in the form of Marisa Monacelli.
Monacelli hit a hard grounder to Eagles' second baseman Lauren Bach, who tagged Thorkildson out on the base path and relayed to Micaela Lausten at first base for the double play to end the ball game.
The Eagles ended another run-scoring threat in the sixth inning.
Emily Pellegrino was on second base and Andrea Christenson laced a shot to centerfield.
Centerfielder Megan Cole ranged to her left to make the catch and gunned Pellegrino at the second base bag for another inning-ending double play.
Cole made a number of nice plays in center to keep runners off the bags.
In the first inning, the Comets looked to grab an early lead but were again foiled by the double play.
Alyssa Wolderich grounded to shortstop and was out on the relay to first. Larson attempted to score from third base but was out when Lausten nabbed her with a throw to catcher Jenna Esala to end the threat and the inning.
The Eagles did all their damage in the second, third and fourth innings.
Lausten singled in the second and hustled from first to third base on a wild pitch thrown on ball four. She would score a few pitches later on a past ball for an early 1-0 lead.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the fourth on three consecutive walks. Amy Nebosis was hit by a pitch for a RBI the hard way.
Brittany Lee knocked in Cole and Lausten with a base hit past the second baseman. Lausten's second run of the game proved to be the game winner.
Autumn and EmaLeigh Roberts both scored insurance runs in the fourth.
Autumn Roberts got the win pitching seven solid innings. She threw strikes, walking only two Comets and fanning one. She allowed three earned runs on nine hits.
The Comets outhit the Eagles nine to six, but the defense of NY Mills was the deciding factor in the game.
The Eagles move on to face Pillager in Pillager Thursday, May 26, at 4 p.m. With a win, they would play again at 6 p.m.
The Eagles split two games with the Huskies in early May losing the opener of a doubleheader 13-9 and taking the nightcap 10-8.