PIPSTON — Fairmont head coach Corey Haney and his Class AA No. 2-ranked Cardinal softball team ended the school’s longest drought to win a conference championship.
Ace hurler Tegan Livesay hit two complete-game shutouts on the strength of 17 strikeouts, while Chantal Mueller and Emily Mueller each had three hits to lead Fairmont to a 4-4 win over No. 9 Pipestone Area Arrow. 1 win correctly. Big South Conference crown Saturday afternoon at Pipestone.
“We were tired of the softball banner hanging on the wall of the Cardinals gym.” Heaney said, referring to Fairmont’s lack of a league title during the program’s 44-year existence. “We were able to score two runs right out of the starting gate and that really took the pressure off.”
Briley Miller hit a leadoff double to deep center to cap the Cardinals’ 15-hit offensive performance in the top of the first inning. Miller advanced to third base on a wild pitch before going home on Livesay’s RBI single to low left.
Gabe Leding, the Lucy Justice hitter, reached second safely when Neva Rahm’s returner to Pipestone right-hander Maria Mueller was thrown into late base without recording a force out.
Chantal Mueller drilled a hip single up the middle to load the bases for the Cardinals before Ledding crossed the plate on Abby Sunden’s RBI groundout.
Livesay kept Pipestone Area off the scoreboard through the first five frames by recording 16 of her game-best 17 strikeouts, while Kayla Hubling – in the second – and Mariah Mueller – in the third. – with delivery.
Despite singles by Ava Gilmore and Anna Ahlert in the second inning, an infield hit by Chantal Mueller in the third and Emily Mueller’s double in the fourth along with Gilmore’s single, Fairmont didn’t score again until the fifth. did
“You have to give credit to the Pipestone defense today.” Haney said. “We had runs all over the place, but the quarterbacks seemed to make every line drive we hit and make plays to force us to score 13 runs in the game.”
Rahm and Chantal Mueller helped break Fairmont’s scoring silence during the fifth. Rahm and Mueller followed Liusay’s steam-trail lineout with back-to-back singles before Court’s runner Haley Grotzinger interjected between second and third to load the bases.
Emily Mueller, who went 3-for-4, then drilled an RBI single to left field to extend the Cardinal’s lead to 3-0.
Miller later took an infield single with one out in the sixth before Ehlert put Miller on the base paths with a fielder’s choice putout. Ehlert then showed his heroics by scoring a high RBI single from Lewsay that hit a no-fielder in left field for a four-run lead.
Pipestone Area leadoff batter Madeline Weiss laced a quick single to center with one out in the bottom of the sixth to spoil Livesay’s no-hit bid. Weiss, who crossed second base and later advanced to third on Jadin’s home run, crossed the plate when Kayla Hubling ripped an RBI single up the middle to cut the Arrow deficit to 4-1.
Lucy then got his 17th and final strikeout of the conference championship game to preserve the Cardinals’ three-run lead.
Pipestone Area reliever Kayla Hubling held off Fairmont after Abby Sandin drilled a double down the line and Emily Mueller added to her lead on a single in the top of the seventh. Habling had two groundouts and her only strikeout to complete her three-inning relief stint.
Livesay produced two RBIs on two hits, while Miller, Rahm and Gilmore each chipped in two hits to spark the Cardinals’ offense.
Pipestone starter Maria Mueller struck out four, walked no one and allowed two earned runs over eight innings of work to take the loss.
“It almost feels like we got two wins today after finding our sectional bracket.” Haney said.
Fairmont (17-2), which tied the school record for single-season wins, earned the No. 2 seed in the 2AA postseason tournament.
The Cardinals received a first-round bye on Tuesday, and will host a matchup between No. 7 seed New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Genoa and No. 10 seed Medford at Cardinal Park in Fairmont on Thursday at 5 p.m. .
FMT 200 011 0 – 4 15 0
Pipe 000 001 0 – 1 2 3
Tegan Livesay (WP: 13-2) and Chantel Moeller. Maria Mueller (LP), Kayla Hubling (5) and Melody Raymond.
LOB – Fairmont 13, Pipestone Area 3. 2B – Briley Miller (FMT), Abby Sandin (FMT) and Emily Mueller (FMT).