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8AAA softball: Alex cruises past Spuds to keep season alive

Senior Taylor Ellingson goes into her windup during the 8AAA playoff game against Moorhead on Monday afternoon. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria softball team lived to see another game with a dominant 9-1 win over Moorhead in the loser’s bracket of the 8AAA tournament on Monday afternoon.

Senior Taylor Ellingson controlled the game from the circle and at the plate. She got the win by allowing one unearned run on just four hits and two walks, while striking out eight.

Ellingson said she could tell it was going to be a good day for her from the rubber when she was warming up before the game. She has had plenty of pitching wins in her career, but she had a first at the plate on her way to two hits, three runs scored and three RBIs.

Ellingson came up with two on in the fourth inning in a 4-1 game and lined a pitch down the left-field line. The ball went all the way to the fence and Ellingson kept running. Head coach Randy Albers never stopped her at third as she finished with her first inside-the-park home run to blow the game open.

“Ever since I played summer last year, my hitting has been getting better,” Ellingson said. “This year I felt like I’ve been hitting my spots. I just thought I was going to get a triple, but he sent me. I was getting kind of scared when I was running home, but I made it so it was Okay.”

Alexandria never let the ninth-seeded Spuds in the game on Monday. The Cardinals got one in the first and three more in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Ellingson had a triple in the third frame and Kaila Dewanz, Sarah Bruzek and Jana Roste all had run-scoring hits.

Alexandria kept adding on, scoring the three in the fourth and two more in the second to coast to the win.

“We talk about keeping the pressure on,” Albers said. “I think that’s important, whether you’re scoring runs or not, just keeping the pressure on them. They had some long innings, and we had some short innings. Getting that first run is always the goal and then we just kind of went to work from there.”

Ellingson said the Cardinals were a confident group heading into the game with their backs against the wall. They played well against fourth-seeded Bemidji in the second round and had their chances late before falling just short in a 7-6 game.

The Cardinals played loose against the Spuds on Monday. They committed just one error and had 12 hits on offense. Bruzek had two of those and a run scored. Dewanz reached base three times. Roste added two doubles and Emily Kuennen had two singles and an RBI.

“They seem much more relaxed than maybe I am,” Albers said of his players. “This team has been in a lot of games this year. We’ve won some close ones, lost some close ones but they seem to kind of handle that stress pretty well. I told them we can play with anybody in this section. It’s wide open. It’s going to take us playing error-free softball and getting good pitching and timely hitting, but we have a shot. This is it. We’ve got nothing to lose, and I think we’re ready for a little run here.”

The Cardinals will travel to Big Lake to take on the third-seeded Hornets on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The winner of that game plays immediately afterwards against either Monticello or Bemidji for the right to play in the section championship on Thursday.

“Leave the high ones with our hitting,” Ellingson said when asked the keys to keeping their run going. “We’ve had trouble hitting those, and then just make the defensive plays.”

Alexandria 9, Moorhead 1

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING – Ellingson – W, 6IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 1 HB, 9SO; Dewanz – 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 1SO

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE – Ellingson – 2-3, BB, 3 runs, 3 RBI, 3B, HR; Dewanz – 1-2, BB, HBP, 1 run, RBI; Bruzek – 2-3, Sac, RBI, 1 run; Carly Dropik – 1-3, Sac, RBI, 1 run; Roste – 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, 1 run; Anna Lee – 0-2, HBP, Sac; Kuennen – 2-3, RBI; Amy Jost – 1-2, 1 run; McKenzie Revering – 0-2, 1 run; Ellie Ronning – 1-1 

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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