The Verndale Pirates only gave up two runs, but both cost them a chance at state success.
After falling in the Class 1A state softball quaterfinals Thursday by a 1-0 score, Verndale was once again downed by the same score in the consolation semifinals to Badger/Greenbush-Middle River Friday in North Mankato.
The damage came after Nicole Bart walked Lyndsey Daignault on a full count with two out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Tiffany Noveck followed with a single to center, advanced to second on a fielding error and went to third on a throwing error. The play scored Daignault for the only run.
Of Bart's 83 pitches 54 were for strikes. She fanned nine of the 23 batters she faced and allowed two hits, one run and three walks.
"Nicole showed up this weekend like she has all year," said Pirates head coach Tim Seaton. "She just did an outstanding job and always kept us in the game. What can you say. She did a good job all season long and did a tremendous job at state."
Erin Efta went the distance on 104 pitches to earn the win. She struck out five, walked two and allowed three hits and no runs.
Verndale's best scoring opportunity developed in the second when Alexia Christianson led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bart later singled to left field moving Christianson to third.
Pinch runner Jenny Swenson stole second putting runners at third and second. Efta then struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
In the third inning Elizabeth Johnson opened with a walk, stole second and reached third on a Cathy Kempe ground out. The Pirates could not drive her home.
Heather Hejhal singled in the seventh and got to second before the rally ended. The Pirates stranded seven runners
"A couple of at bats we weren't happy with, but their pitcher made some good pitches when she needed to," said Seaton. "We tried about everything to get the runs in. We tried to bunt one time. It seemed like whatever we tried didn't work, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Maybe we put too much on ourselves, but we had the opportunities."
Due to weather conditions, there will be no Consolation Bracket Championship game; B/G-MR is credited with a Co-Consolation Title.
The Pirates finished the season 19-4.
"We told the girls after the game how proud we were of what they accomplished and also talked about how excited we were with the foundation that is coming back next season," said Seaton. "Hopefully we can have another great season next eyar and maybe get back down here."
Verndale 000 000 0 - 0 3 3
Badger/G-MR 000 001 x - 1 2 2
WP - Erin Efta. LP - Nicole Bart. Overall - Verndale finishes 19-4.
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