As expected, the game was a low scoring affair as it featured two of the premier pitchers in the Region. The Lady Spartan's Tarryn Justesen has 16 wins on the season and is second in the nation in strikeouts. She was matched up against the Golden Ram's Quincy Gross who has 14 wins and is third in the nation in strikeouts. Both pitchers were on top of their game and runs were hard to come by.
Justesen worked out of a top of the first jam to get the Lady Spartans in the dugout swinging. Lady Spartan leadoff hitter Haley Poehler put together possibly the best at bat of the season as she took Gross to 13 pitches before lining a sharp single to left. Poehler stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded as the Lady Spartans were unable to deliver a clutch hit.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third. Poehler once again led off the inning with a great at bat, this time drawing a 10 pitch walk. She stole second and scored on a hard hit RBI single to left by Amber Boese. Sidney Imsande followed that up with a seeing eye single up the middle. Both runners advanced on a ground out by Ally Jensen. With runners on second and third Gross was able to work out of the jam and keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Lady Spartans.
The Golden Rams tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the top of the fourth. Both pitchers pitched a clean top of the fifth to send the game to late innings tied.
In the top of the sixth, Justesen made her only mistake of the game. The Lady Spartans got the first out on a liner to Boese. The next Golden Ram singled to left. Justesen left a ball up in the zone to the Golden Ram's cleanup hitter and she hit a two run shot to left field to give Anoka Ramsey a 3-1 lead.
To the credit of the Lady Spartans, they didn't quit even against one of the top pitchers. Lindsey Dierks drew a one out walk. She advanced to second on a ball hit by Lydia Klemetson that looked like it had base hit written all over it but a fine play by the Golden Ram shortstop nipped a hustling Klemetson at first by a half step. Sam Lupkes stepped to the plate and calmly delivered a two out run scoring single to plate Dierks and make the score 3-2 in favor of the Golden Rams. Lupkes advanced all the way to third but was stranded there and the game moved to the seventh 3-2.
Justesen threw a great top of the seventh getting three Golden Rams to hit infield popups and get the Lady Spartans back in and swinging. The Lady Spartans thought they had an extra base hit when Haley Poehler hit a liner to the left center gap. The ball hung just enough and the Golden Ram center fielder made a nice running catch for the first out. With two outs, Amber Boese drilled a single to left to keep the Lady Spartans hopes alive but Imsande hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line that was fielded cleanly and the out was recorded at first base.
The loss ended the Lady Spartans season but not before they put together a very impressive 20 win season. They ended the season with nine losses. All the losses came to teams ranked in the top ten in the NJCAA, four to #3 ranked St. Cloud and five to #7 ranked Anoka Ramsey. Justesen finished the game with three strikeouts which should keep her near the top of the NJCAA in that category. The Minnesota
College Athletic Conference (MCAC) will announce their All Division teams next week. St. Cloud Technical and Community College finished the tournament with a 3-0 record to advance to the NJCAA National Softball Tournament which will be held in Rochester Minnesota next week.