MARSHALL - After a 22-run explosion against Luverne on Tuesday, Marshall softball coach Jack Houseman thought the team had finally found some offense after struggling to score runs all season.
But with a stiff wind blowing balls back into the infield, as well as some stiff competition fron Worthington, the Tigers ended the 2012 regular season on a down note, falling in a Southwest Conference sweep, 12-0 in Game 1 and 6-3 in Game 2 at the Marshall Softball Complex.
"I thought after the Luverne game that we had some offense," Houseman said, "but we still struggled with the same stuff we have all season. We're still deciding too late if we want to swing at the ball or not."
Photo by Joe Brown
Marshall’s Emily Mortier, right, and Amy Welu each try to scoop a chopper in the infield during Thursday’s doubleheader against Worthington at the Marshall Softball Complex.
Heading into Section 3AA-North play next Tuesday in Morris, Marshall ends the regular season at 5-14 overall and 4-8 in the Southwest Conference. The Tigers open single elimination play on Tuesday against Yellow Medicine East.
"If we can put together some hits and some offense, we can try to make a run up (in Morris)," Houseman said. "But if we play like this, it'll be a quick trip."
The Trojans set the tone early in Game 1 with a five-run top of the first inning. After Rebecca Linder and Haley Rogers coaxed bases-loaded walks, Brandie Timmerman belted a two-out bases-clearing double for the five-run advantage. Kari Suby added another run in the second, scoring on a groundout by Angela Robinson.
Worthington510 24-12 9 0
Marshall000 00-0 5 2
W-Angela Robinson; M-Callie Graff. WP-Robinson. LP-Graff. HR: W-KC Riley. 2B: W-Paige Kinley 2, Brandie Timmerman, Rebecca Linder. LOB: W-5; M-5.
Marshall100 200 0-3 6 4
Worthington004 020 X-6 7 1
M-Callie Graff. W-Angela Robinson. WP-Graff. LP-Robinson. 3B: W-Paige Kinley. 2B: M-Brooke Louwagie, Kelli VanLeeuwe; W-Kinley, Jenny Majerus. LOB: M-8; W-5.
KC Riley padded Worthington's lead in the fourth with a two-run home run off Marshall's Callie Graff, and Paige Kinley helped the Trojans pass the 10-run benchmark in the fifth with a three-run double.
Robinson put together a stellar outing in Game 1, striking out five and holding the Tigers without a hit in the fourth and fifth innings for the victory.
In Game 2, Marshall looked set to rebound, with Brooke Louwagie hitting an RBI double to bring home Graff in the top of the first. But Robinson would calm down, and hold the Tigers hitless for the next two innings.
With Timmerman getting hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the third, Kinley brought home a pair of runs on a double, and Riley scored Kinley off a Tigers' fielding error. With two hits and a pair of Marshall errors, Worthington took a 4-1 lead.
The Tigers cut the gap to one, thanks to Kelli VanLeeuwe and Emily Mortier. With VanLeeuwe on third and Mortier on first, Marshall performed a double steal that got the senior VanLeeuwe home. Mortier later came home, thanks to consecutive singles by Jessica Tubbs and Amy Welu.
With bases loaded and just one out, the Tigers had a chance to tie the game, but Robinson struck out Graff and forced Katie Kaiser into a groundout to cut the rally short.
After giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth, Graff was able to get three straight batters out, leaving a Trojans runner stranded on third and keeping the deficit at one.
"Callie did a good job out there battling today," Houseman said. "She was getting ahead of batters. Her changeup is coming around. She's really come a long way this season."
Kinley led the bottom of the fifth off with a triple, sparking a four-hit, two-run inning for the Trojans to seal the conference sweep. Worthington ends the regular season at 10-8 overall, 6-6 in the Southwest, and will open Section 3AA-South play on Tuesday against St. James in Pipestone.