The M State Lady Spartan softball dropped game one 10-1 against Anoka Ramsey and had to come from behind three times to beat against Minnesota West 8-7 and advance to day two of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 13 softball tournament. The winner of the four team, double elimination tournament advances to the NJCAA national tournament in Rochester MN next week.
The #3 seeded Lady Spartans played the #2 seeded Golden Rams of Anoka Ramsey Community and Technical College in the first game of the tournament. The Lady Spartans grabbed a second inning 1-0 lead when Sidney Imsande reached on an error, advanced on a passed ball, and scored on a Sam Lupkes sharp single to center for a 1-0 Lady Spartan lead. The Golden Rams tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth and both pitchers were battling to get out of trouble and keep the game close.
The Lady Spartans threatened in the fifth inning but couldn't push anything across. That's when the Golden Rams went to work. They took advantage of some defensive miscues by the Lady Spartans and really started to hit the ball well. They broke the game open with five runs in the fifth inning and finished the game with four runs in the sixth for a 10-1 win. Tarryn Justesen pitched the complete game for the Lady Spartans, striking out seven Golden Rams along the way.
Game two was back and forth battle between the Lady Spartans and the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Blue Jays. The Lady Spartans had to rally from behind three times before winning the game 8-7 when Haley Poehler scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Lady Spartans a win and move on to Friday play.
In inning number one, the Blue Jays jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first but the Lady Spartans answered scoring three runs on a couple of walks and a couple of Blue Jay errors. The Lady Spartans kept the 3-2 lead until the top of the third when the Blue Jays plated three runs to take a 5-3 lead.
The Lady Spartans answered those runs with three of their own highlighted by and Sid Imsande double and an RBI ground out by Lupkes. That gave the Lady Spartans a 6-5 lead.
The Blue Jays grabbed a 7-6 lead with a two run top of the fifth but Lady Spartan pitcher Tarryn Justesen found her groove and set the Blue Jays down in order in the top of the sixth. The Lady Spartans tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Imsande and a series of walks to make the score 7-7 heading to the seventh inning.
Once again, Justesen set the Blue Jays down in order and gave her team a chance for a walk off win. Poehler walked and moved to second and third on wild pitches. She had a great read on another wild pitch and was able to beat the tag with the winning run for the hard fought Lady Spartan 8-7 win.
Justesen was the winning pitcher. She is now a very impressive 16-5 and the Lady Spartans notched their 20th win of the season.
The Lady Spartans earned a rematch with the Golden Rams of Anoka Ramsey in game one Friday. Anoka Ramsey lost to St. Cloud Technical and Community College 4-0 in their second game. Minnesota West was sent home with the loss to the Lady Spartans and also a loss to St. Cloud.
First pitch is at 10:00 and the location is Rivers Edge Park in Waite Park.