Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

Tigers knocked off by Akron-Westfield

New London taken down in Class 1A first round game, sent to consolation game today
Jul 17, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Sydni Coleman rears back to throw a pitch in relief during New London's 12-2 loss to Akron-Westfield on Monday morning.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


FT. DODGE — New London’s first-round matchup at state softball didn’t quite live up to the excitement of their regional tournament run. The Tigers were welcomed to Ft. Dodge by a ruthless Akron-Westfield team who used a steady stream of hits to knock New London out of the winner’s bracket 12-2 in six innings.

The Tigers and Westerners met in the third first-round game of the day under the hot sun on Buena Vista University field. After a quick top of the first inning, Akron-Westfield threw the first of a series of early punches that put the Tigers in an early hole.

The first three Westerner batters of the game reached base with an RBI single by Danika Smith breaking the scoreless tie to make it 1-0 with two on and nobody out.

Sydni Coleman made a running catch to get the first our of the inning, and starting pitcher Camryn Blint forced a groundout on the next batter, but Akron-Westfield brought two more in on a two-run single from Courtney Waterbury. After one inning of play, the Tigers trailed 3-0.

New London put two runners on with nobody out in the top of the second when Breanna Mettler reached on an error and Coleman was hit by the pitch. Kara Krieger followed with a successful sacrifice bunt to move them over with one out, but Akron-Westfield starter Natalie Nielsen got out of the jam.

New London had another defensive gem in the bottom of the second inning when Carson McSorley crashed into the fence in foul territory to make a catch for the second out. Smith came back around for the Westerners two batters later, however, and made it 5-0 with a two-run double.

The Tigers once again put two runners on in the top of the third, but it once again led to nothing. McSorley singled with two outs and Layney Loyd hit a long single off the left field fence, but Nielson escaped another jam.

A blister on the finger of Blint forced Coleman to come in to pitch in the third inning. Akron-Westfield knocked in one more run to stretch their lead to 6-0.

The top of the fourth saw more promise for New London when Coleman led off with a double and made it to third base on a one-out wild pitch. A couple of groundouts ended the frame, however, and the Tigers remained scoreless.

Smith burned the Tigers again with an RBI single on a bunt in the seventh inning. New London left yet another runner in scoring position in the top of the fifth, stranding McSorley after a one-out single and a stolen base.

Tiger fans finally got to see a New London runner cross the plate in the top of the sixth. The rally started with Coleman, who walked up to the plate with one out and smacked her second double of the game to get back in scoring position.

“I just had to go up there and believe in myself that I could hit the ball,” Coleman said about her approach. “I’ve been hitting the ball decently this year, and I knew I could do it.”

Alexa Wenger sent an RBI single into the outfield to bring home Coleman and put the Tigers on the board. Marah Hartrick followed with an RBI double to left field and the Tigers were within five runs, at 7-2.

New London nearly got to the seventh inning with just the five-run deficit but a tricky play on the bases led to the floodgates opening for Akron-Westfield.

With two outs and runners on the corners, the Westerners put on a delayed steal, which started a frantic rundown. New London tried to get the out at the plate, but the throw was late and both runners were safe.

That run was the first of five in the inning. The final three came on a bases-clearing triple by Lily Kenny, which ran the Westerner lead up to 10 runs and ended the contest via the mercy rule.

After the game, New London coach Duane Blint said mistakes in the field and on the bases were what doomed his squad, and that the Tigers simply didn’t play up to their potential.

“They’re a good hitting team,” Blint said of the Westerners. “It’s tough (because) you don’t know whether to bring the infield in. They’re playing small-ball and then before you know it, they’re taking cuts. (But) are they out of our league? No. We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing.”

Coleman finished the game 2-2 with two doubles and a run scored. McSorley was 2-3 with a stolen base. Hartrick finished 1-3 with an RBI. Wenger was 1-3 with a run and an RBI, and Loyd finished 1-3.

Blint took the loss on the mound, giving up five earned runs on four hits and three walks over two innings of work. Coleman threw three and two-thirds innings, giving up seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and one walk, while striking out two.

New London is taking on Janesville today (Tuesdy) in a consolation game, which began at 11:30 a.m. The News will have the result of that game in Wednesday’s edition.

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