ARMSTRONG — Estherville Lincoln Central’s defense played to the philosophy, “bend, but don’t break,” in shutting out Class 1A No. 10 Armstrong-Ringsted 2-0 on Friday.
The Mustangs had the leadoff batter on base in five of the seven innings, but couldn’t come up with the extra hit to bring the runner home against the Midgettes’ stingy defense.
A-R even out-hit ELC 7-6, but the Midgettes had three of theirs in the second inning when they scored the only two runs of the game.
ELC coach Mindy Brechwald credited first baseman Maggie Asman for saving a few runs.
“I thought she had some great scoops that saved us some huge outs,” she said. “Their big hits didn’t hurt us fortunately.
“I’m very proud of the defense tonight,” she said.
A-R coach Hilary Menke hopes her team’s bats pick up the pace soon with several key Cornbelt Conference games next week.
“We practiced hitting for an hour and a half Wednesday–that’s all we did,” she said. “(Tonight) the first girl came out and did what she was supposed to, but then we couldn’t do what we needed to do to move her around.“
A-R’s first chance to score came in the first inning when Lisa Pelzer led off with a single and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Grabinoski.
However, a strikeout and ground out ended the threat.
In the top of the second, Kristi Juergens led off with a single. Courtesy runner Alex Olesen went to second on a passed ball. With one out, ELC pitcher Amanda Christensen helped her cause with an RBI single to right-center field.
Jordan Jacobson then hit a grounder to the right side of the field to score the courtesy runner.
The Mustangs had another opportunity to score in the fourth inning when April Gunderson drew a leadoff walk.
Rosie Cheever hit a grounder to second as ELC forced out Gunderson at second, but Logan Evans laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Cheever to second.
A single by Megan Sanders put runners at the corners. She stole second, but Brianne Gonzales struck out to end the threat.
ELC had a chance to score in the top of the fifth as Christensen drew a leadoff walk. Courtesy runner Emily Jensen went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jacobson and third on a passed ball, but was stranded at third after a pop up and Amy Leach’s fifth strikeout.
In the bottom of the inning, Leach tried to help her cause with a leadoff double. But a pop up, a sacrifice bunt by Pelzer and a ground out left the runner stranded at third again.
ELC tried to add an insurance run in the sixth as Maggie Asman hit a one-out double. Erin Beardsley came up with a two-out single to left field, but Cheever threw out Asman at the plate with catcher Sanders making the tag.
A-R looked to rally in the seventh as Gonzales and Leach hit consecutive singles.
But Michele Iris had an infield pop up and Pelzer laid down the sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
The game ended as Grabinoski hit a hard grounder back to Christensen, who took a moment to field the ball, but made the throw in time to Asman.
Christensen earned the win as she gave up seven hits, struck out four batters and walked one.
Leach struck out nine batters and walked one in the loss.
At the plate, Brenna Wegner, Juergens, Christensen, Jacobson, Beardsley and Asman each had one hit.
For A-R, Gonzales was 2-3, Leach was 2-3, Pelzer was 1-2 with two sacrifice bunts, Gunderson was 1-2 and Sanders was 1-3.
A-R (10-2) hosts Ruthven-Ayrshire on Monday.
ELC (14-4) hosts Cherokee.
ELC 020 000 0 – 2 6 0
A-R 000 000 0 – 0 7 1
ELC – Christensen (WP) and Juergens. A-R – Leach (LP) and Sanders. 2B – ELC: Asman; AR: Leach.