Blooming Prairie Sends Bethlehem Academy to Elimination Bracket
Blooming Prairie senior pitcher Elly Strunk was impressive in a 5-2 win over Bethlehem Academy in the second round of West Subsection Class 1A softball Wednesday.
The Cardinals defeated Blooming Prairie on the same field last Friday 5-0 to capture the Gopher Conference championship and the Awesome Blossoms looked like they were laser focused for Wednesday’s game.
Bethlehem Academy freshman pitcher Delaney Donahue shut out Blooming Prairie last Friday and was cruising along until the third time through the order. Donahue struck out 11 batters and walked two while surrendering 10 hits in the game. Nine of the 10 hits came over the last four innings.
First time through the order, Donahue allowed just one hit -- a lead-off double to the No. 7 batter. In fact, through the first two innings Donahue threw just 24 pitches, with 15 strikes and four strikeouts, allowing one hit.
Blooming Prairie scored three runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the seventh, with three hits in each of those innings.
Donahue finished by throwing 118 pitches, 73 for strikes.
Strunk threw 103 pitches, 68 for strikes, and collected six strikeouts to go along with three walks and a hit batter. The senior right-handed pitcher allowed just five hits to a team that was hitting well over .400 on the season.
Give Strunk all the credit. She mixed speeds well, getting the Cardinal hitters to pop the ball up or hit a fly ball to the outfield and junior shortstop McKenna Hein picked up any grounder heading her way. Strunk did not allow more than one hit in any inning and did not give up a single extra base hit.
Bethlehem Academy came into the game with 38 doubles, six triples and four homers in 19 games.
The Cardinals scored first when lead-off hitter junior Tess Glenzinski was walked to start the third inning. Wheels Glenzinski stole second for her 35th stolen base of the season and was bunted to third base by Breanna Degrood. She then scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by junior Grace Viland and the Cardinals enjoyed that 1-0 lead going into the sixth inning.
Donahue pitched out of some jams. A lead-off double in the third inning was stranded there with all three outs recorded via the strikeout.
The Awesome Blossoms had runners at second and third with nobody out in the fifth inning and did not score when Donahue struck out the nine, one and two batters.
Blooming Prairie jumped on pitches early in the count with back-to-back singles to open the top of the sixth inning. They also had a double to make the score 3-1.
The Cardinals got a single from Viland to start the bottom the sixth, but a couple of pop outs and a ground out later she was still standing at second base after advancing there on a wild pitch.
The Awesome Blossoms added two runs in the seventh when their top of the order produced a couple of hits to start the inning. The runs scored on a sacrifice fly and RBI single.
Strunk not only pitched a masterpiece but also had two hits in the game.
Behtlehem Academy got singles in each of the first three innings, scoring in the third inning. Their final run came on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh.
Sophomore Kate Jasinski was hit by a pitch on a 0-2 count. After a fly out, No. 9 hitter Nicole Menard notched a single and Glenzinski was walked to load the bases. Junior Beatrice Smith went in to run for Jasinski and scored on a ground out by Degrood.
Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game courtesy of Jason Krohn and Tony Langerud were Viland, Jasinski and second baseman Malia Hunt.
Hunt covers a lot of ground at second base. Viland was the only batter to collect more than one hit off Strunk in the game and Jasinki was on base two of the three times she was in the batter’s box.
The Cardinals will play Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton in an elimination bracket game at 2:15 Friday at Austin’s Todd Park.
Blooming Prairie plays Hayfield in the winner’s bracket and the victor will advance to the section tournament with the subsection championship in tow.
The loser of the Hayfield vs. Blooming Prairie game will play the winner of the BA vs. JWP game Saturday morning at 10, and that winner will also head to the section tournament next week in Austin.