Tigers win home tourney
After defeating Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Friday night at home, Morris Area won three games on Saturday to claim the championship in the Tigers' softball tournament.
Morris Area 9
Morris Area scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead from the Falcons and win 9-5.
The Falcons took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and scored three more in the third to go up 5-0.
The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the third. Alissa Melberg reached on a lead-off walk. Brianna Neuman moved Melberg to second with a sacrifice bunt. Melberg then scored on an RBI single by Dani Schultz. Schultz scored on a single by Mary Rentz.
Sara Beyer started the rally in the sixth with a base hit. Courtesy runner, Shadow Olson, scored the first run, followed by Courtney Vogel, Haley Henrichs, Melberg, Neuman, Schultz, and Heather Gagner.
The Falcon pitchers gave up three hits (Beyer, Henrichs, and Rentz), four walks, two errors, and a hit batter to help the Tigers.
"We finally had our own big inning," said coach Mary Holmberg. "The top of our order is hitting about .500 and the bottom of the order scored four runs."
Kelsey Amundson started the game, giving up five runs.
"Amundson gave up some base hits which were tough for the outfielders to judge due to the strong northwest winds," said Holmberg.
Beyer pitched three strong innings, before Amundson came back in the seventh to finish the game with a strike and pop fly to Gagner.
"Defensively we played very well," added Holmberg. "Henrichs and Rentz played well on the left side."
Catcher Dani Schultz threw out a runner at second in the second inning for the only stolen base attempt by the Falcons.
"Schultz plays so well at catcher. She keeps the ball in front of her and works well with the pitchers."
Morris Area 4
Morris Area allowed only two base runners in seven innings as the Tigers defeated Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 4-0 to open the tournament.
Amundson allowed one hit, while striking out eight.
Mackenzie Weatherly faced three batters, striking out two and getting the third out on a ground ball to herself.
"Weatherly threw very well. Mackenzie came in throwing 12 pitches to end the game."
Beyer was catching, while Schultz had two assists and a put out at third base.
Olson and Melberg also had put outs in the outfield.
In the first inning, Gagner singled and advanced to third on a base hit by Schultz and scored on a long sacrifice fly by Rentz.
The Tigers scored three runs in the third inning.
With two outs, Schultz reached on an error. Rentz scored Schultz when she doubled to center. Beyer singled and then Neuman doubled to score Rentz and courtesy runner Henrichs.
"Mary, Sara, and Bri all had big hits to give us a comfortable lead."
Morris Area 11
Weatherly threw 47 strikes and two balls to help the Tigers to an 11-1 win over Ortonville in round two of the tournament. She gave up three hits and one earned run, while striking out nine.
Weatherly struck out the side in the second inning and took care of the fourth by herself with two strikeouts and a ground ball in which she threw the runner out at first.
"Mackenzie had a wonderful game. She took care of 12 of the 15 outs herself and had three comebackers on the mound."
Morris Area scored four runs in the second inning. Schultz hit a bases-loaded double to score three of the four runs.
"I was so pleased with how everyone played. We had balanced hitting and everyone contributed."
Morris Area 7
Morris Area defeated Section 3A opponent, MACCRAY, 7-4 in the championship game of the Morris tournament.
"This was a great game for our team, and I think the fans enjoyed it as well."
Amundson, Beyer, and Weatherly faced good hitters, but had solid defense behind them.
"Rentz had some great plays at shortstop."
Rentz made a heads up play in the third, tagging a runner who came off second base after a hit to center. Olson threw the ball in quickly to second and the runner was safe, but came off the bag.
In the fifth inning, MACCRAY was up 4-3 and had a runner at second. Melberg hit Rentz at cut off on a base hit to left field and Rentz threw the runner out at home.
"Alissa, Mary, and Dani made a huge play to prevent another run."
In the sixth inning, Gagner took away a base hit into right field.
The Tigers ended the game in the ninth inning with a perfect double play. Weatherly had struck out the first batter, walked the next, and then threw a ground ball to Rentz at second who threw to Beyer at first.
"Sara stretched for the last out and completed a great play."
Amundson handled the bunts early in the game. Schultz made a great catch on a bunt and almost had a double play in the eighth.
Henrichs had two unassisted plays at third.
"Everyone played so well and with so much focus. It was fun to watch."
The Tigers were down 2-0 when they rallied in the third inning. With two outs, three back-to-back singles by Gagner, Schultz, and Rentz loaded the bases for Beyer. She connected for a double to clear the bases.
"Sara really came through in a clutch situation. She hit the ball hard."
Down 4-3 in the sixth inning with two outs, Henrichs reached on a fielder's choice, then Melberg singled to right. Olson then singled to score Henrichs and tie the game.
"MACCRAY had changed pitchers and Shadow hit the ball hard up the middle."
The other Tiger rally in the ninth inning also started with two outs. Gagner walked, Schultz singled, and Rentz hit a two-RBI double to center field. Beyer followed with her second double of the day to score Rentz.
"We rallied and hit the ball very well. This definitely boosted our confidence in hitting."
Gagner and Rentz hit .750, Olson was .500, and Beyer and Schultz were .400 for the game.