Area softball: Z-M earns consolation titleZumbrota-Mazeppa had never won a game in its two previous trips to the state tournament and the Cougars started the 2011 tournament with a lopsided loss, but Z-M earned a pair of victories Friday to finish fifth in Class AA.
By: R-E Sports Staff, The Republican Eagle
Zumbrota-Mazeppa had never won a game in its two previous trips to the state tournament and the Cougars started the 2011 tournament with a lopsided loss, but Z-M earned a pair of victories Friday to finish fifth in Class AA.
In the consolation semifinals the Cougars held on for a 2-1 win over St. Paul Johnson, and then they beat Albany 7-5 at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minn.
Megan Nelson pitched all seven innings against the Governors, allowing an unearned run on four hits.
“She was able to locate her fastball in and out and we kept them off balance that way,” Z-M coach Kevin Nelson said. “She also threw a few changeups. She had a little bit more pop on the ball today than she did yesterday.”
Trailing 1-0, the Cougars scored twice in the fifth inning to take the lead for good. Carley Henning doubled to left to lead off the inning and scored on Nasha Reuter’s single. Cait Gunhus added an RBI bunt single two batters later.
“We got a great pitching performance and some timely hitting,” Nelson said.
After scoring a total of three runs in its first two games, Z-M’s offense came to life against Albany. The Cougars scored seven runs on nine hits and blasted a pair of home runs.
Julia Niebuhr provided the big blast as she hit a three-run home run to center field in the fourth.
“Even the balls that were outs were hard hits,” coach Nelson said. “One inning there were three fly balls and all three were within 10 feet of going out of the ballpark when they caught them.”
Even though Z-M went 0-2 at state in both 2008 and 2010, coach Nelson said he thinks those trips paid dividends this year.
“We had a couple games under pressure and that was nothing new,” he said.
The Cougars finished the year 23-4.