Minster Wins Slugfest

Minster’s Laney Hemmelgarn makes contact with the ball during a softball match against St. Marys on Wednesday at K.C. Geiger Park.
Sports Editor

Softball made its return to K.C. Geiger Park on Wednesday for the first time since May 9, 2019.

And the return was quite the slugfest. 

Minster took a commanding 10-1 lead after two innings and a 16-1 advantage through three, but St. Marys chipped away thanks to a six-run fourth before the Riders ran out of innings for an 18-10 win for the Wildcats.

Minster (6-1) — fresh off a 10-9 loss to Celina the night before — jumped on St. Marys’ (1-1) starter Karsyn McGlothen with a seven-run first inning — with all seven runs coming with two outs. RBI hits by Laney and Lyndi Hemmelgarn pushed the lead to 10-1 and a six-run fourth inning put the game away. 

“We hit the gas really, really hard in the beginning and then we kind of put our hands up and lay back a little bit,” Minster coach Robb Hemmelgarn said. “It burned us last night [against Celina]. Then we are up 16-1 and all of a sudden, it is a six-run game.”

After the first two Wildcats hitters grounded out to start the game, Minster had a baserunner in its next eight at-bats — with two of the first three at-bats ending in walks and was followed by Kaitlyn Wolf’s two-run double. Errors allowed Laney and Lyndi Hemmelgarn to score and a wild pitch allowed Rachael Hoying to represent the seventh run in the opening frame. 

A leadoff single by Savanah Bergman, followed by a walk to Alexis Bishop paved the way for Laney Hemmelgarn to score Bergman in the third frame.Two batters later, Lyndi Hemmelgarn’s two-run double pushed the Minster lead to 10-1. 

After a flyout opened the fourth inning, four-straight singles and RBI hits by Wolf and Lyndi Hemmelgarn set the stage for Hoying and Samantha Trego — who each tattooed the ball to center and left field, respectively, for back-to-back home runs to extend the Minster lead to 16-1. 

“We knew what we were facing with Karsyn pitching,” Hemmelgarn said. “And I am very familiar with their batters. I knew that they were going to come to hit and we knew that they were going to have those ‘never-die attitudes.’”

Aside from leadoff hitter Kiley Tennant scoring on an error in the first inning, St. Marys never had a runner advance past second base until the fourth inning.

That’s when the Riders made it a game.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Emma Birt connected on a hit to deep left field that cleared the bases. Krista Prater’s single in the next at-bat plated Birt. 

Earlier in the frame, McGlothen led off with a single and scored on an error at short by Royce Glass when she airmailed a ball to home plate as the Riders made it a 16-7 game.

In the circle, McGlothen kept the Minster bats at bay, retiring the side in order in the fifth and facing just four batters in the sixth. That allowed St. Marys to add three more runs in the home half of the sixth. 

Gretchen Burd led off with a triple to left-center field and followed by a walk to Tennant at the top of the lineup, Burd bolted for home on a double steal. Birt’s double in the next at-bat set her up to score on a Renee Sweigart smack to left-center field as the Riders closed the game to 16-10. 

RBI hits by Trego and Glass in the top of the seventh extended Minster’s lead to 18-10. 

Lyndi Hemmelgarn finished with 2 RBIs and two runs scored and Laney Hemmelgarn drove in one run and scored three times. Trego batted 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two runs scored and 2 RBIs. 

St. Marys’ offense was generated at the top of the lineup with Tennant not being retired at the plate all night, finishing with two walks, two singles and three runs scored. Birt batted 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Sweigart batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. 

Hoying took the win for Minster in five innings of work, surrendering nine runs and McGlothen took the loss for St. Marys in a complete-game effort, issuing six walks and five strikeouts.