Area softball: No. 1 Zumbrota-Mazeppa 12, No. 1 Cotter Schools 2 (6 innings)The Cougars pounded out 15 hits Tuesday in Austin, Minn., to reach the finals of the Section 1AA tournament and avenge a regular-season loss to the Ramblers.
By: R-E Sports Staff, The Republican Eagle
The Cougars pounded out 15 hits Tuesday in Austin, Minn., to reach the finals of the Section 1AA tournament and avenge a regular-season loss to the Ramblers.
When Cotter Schools defeated Z-M 11-1 in six innings on May 11 and snapped the Cougars' 41-game conference winning streak, Lauren Bowlin held Z-M to eight hits. Bowlin was in the circle for the rematch and Z-M collected 15 hits.
The Cougars (20-3) played three ranked teams in St. Anthony Village, Blooming Prairie and Lewiston-Altura at the end of the regular season and Z-M coach Kevin Nelson said that helped prepare his hitters to face Bowlin again.
Julia Niebuhr led Z-M at the plate, going 4-for-5 with a home run and a double. She drove in four runs and scored four times.
Megan Nelson added four hits, including two doubles, and collected three RBI. She also scored three runs.
Nelson earned the complete-game win, striking out eight, walking two and surrendering two hits.
"I thought we got a great pitching performance," coach Nelson said. "Megan threw the ball really well, hit her spots, kept their hitters off balance."
Coach Nelson said Cotter hit a lot of balls up the middle the first time, but in the rematch he said that shortstop Jamie St. Marie made some good plays up the middle and Megan Nelson managed to knock the ball down on a couple occasions.
Z-M is back in action Thursday at 5 p.m. in Austin. It will play either Byron or Cotter in the double-elimination tournament. If Z-M wins it advances to the state tournament. If it loses, it could still advance to state with a win in the second game that night.