The Alexandria softball team has had an up and down season. After starting 2-7, the Cardinals went into Friday night's matchup with Rocori with a 10-8 record. After scoring two runs in the first inning, the Spartans manufactured all of the support they needed for Caitlin Heinen to get a win.
"She's one of the best pitchers in the state," Alexandria head coach Randy Albers said. "This is one of the ranked teams in this class. If we want to win these games they're going to be low-scoring. I thought we played well but it just wasn't enough."
The Cardinals fell to the Spartans 5-1. Heinen threw a complete game, giving up just three hits and one earned run.
Alexandria had its best chance to even the score in the bottom of the fifth. The Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs trailing by four runs. Joria Downing hit a double play ball to third base - driving in the lone Alexandria run.
"They made the plays in the field they needed to make and they got really good pitching," Sidney Drew said. "She throws hard and mixed her pitches well. She would throw a drop ball or a changeup that was really tough for us to hit."
Despite the loss, the Cardinals are starting to believe in themselves. They went into Friday's contest on a five-game win streak averaging over 11 runs a game.
"I think the confidence is growing in the dugout," Albers said. "We are getting more at-bats. The girls are seeing the ball more. We weren't seeing the dominating pitching like we saw tonight."
The confidence Albers is seeing hasn't been there the whole season. The Cardinals have a lot of young players that are coming into their own in the second half of the season.
"We will be a different team coming out of the regular season than when we came in," Drew said. "We are really getting to know each other and are starting to put it all together."
Alexandria currently sits fourth in the Section 8AAA standings according to Minnesota-Scores. They wrapped up the regular season with a 10-9 record. Despite the loss, Drew believes they are playing the right softball at the right time.
"We can do this," she said. "We are good enough to beat good teams. We know how we have to play in the playoffs. We are ready for it."
ROCORI 210 011 0 - 5 8 2
ALEXANDRIA 000 010 0 - 1 3 2
PITCHING- ALEXANDRIA- Aly Albers L, 2IP, 3H, 3R, 1ER, 2K; Kendra Hardy- 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 2K; Emily Harris- 3IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 0K;
ROCORI PITCHING- Caitlin Heinin- 7IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 8K,;
ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE- Taylor Sayre 0-3; Ally Albers 1-3; Sydney Christenson 1-3; Autumn Botz 0-3; Kendra Hardy 0-3; Sydney Drew 1-3, R; Kaci Trosvig 0-3; Brooklyn Stender 0-1; Emily Harris 0-1; Joria Downing 0-2, RBI; Calista Bergquist 0-1;