Victory eludes Rochester team at nationals

Rochester Hurricanes pitcher Kristen Erickson winds and delivers with runners on base as they open the 2011 ASA Northern National Class B 18 and under Championships Thursday night at McQuillen Fields in Rochester, Minn. against the Hallie Hotrodders of Lake Hallie, Wis.

It wasn't the start the Rochester Hurricanes had hoped for at the Amateur Softball Association Northern National Girls Fastpitch Softball Tournament.

The Hurricanes were on the verge of victory in the first round of pool play in the 18 and under Class B event on Thursday. Rochester led 7-2 going into the bottom of the seventh only to see the Hallie (Wis.) Hotrodders rally to tie the game at 7-7 and then win in the bottom of the eighth, 8-7.

The 20-team 18U and the 10-team 10U event is being held at the McQuillan Softball Complex in Rochester.

"It's disappointing, but it's good to play good competition to make us better," Hurricanes pitcher Kristen Erickson said.

Erickson pitched the first five innings and left with a 5-2 lead. She snapped a 2-2 tie with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and Kathy Eckerman followed with a two-run single.


Katie Boldt pitched a scoreless sixth for the Hurricanes and the team added two runs in the top of the seventh on Rachel Karp's two-run single.

Boldt didn't survive the seventh, however, as Hallie had five of its first six hitters reach and Erickson re-entered the game.

"It's hard to go back in when you thought you had the win," Erickson said. "It was a lot more pressure."

Erickson allowed two more hits in the seventh as Hallie tied the game. Hallie then scored an unearned run in the eighth to win the game. A couple of misplays by Rochester were also costly in the seventh inning.

"That's just the way baseball or softball can be," Hurricanes coach Mike Breitbach said. "A couple of people get on base and it just (snowballs) on you."

"If you don't make plays, you're not going to win," Hurricanes assistant coach Thang Nguyen said.

The good thing is the Hurricanes, like all teams, basically have two warm-up games in pool play. After that, double-elimination bracket play begins. That's when a loss can be devastating.

"I think we just have to focus on our game and not the errors," Erickson said. "We have to come back and play our game."


The Hurricanes, now 33-5 this season, are also a team made up of 16-and-under players. All team members attend John Marshall.

"Coming in as a 16-and-under team, we know we can play with anybody," Breitbach said.

"It's tough to come back, but I think we can," the coach added.

The Hurricanes have a pool game today at 3 p.m. and then start bracket play at 7 p.m. Breitbach said he substituted freely on Thursday at the end of the game because he knew pool play didn't determine how the double-elimination bracket was set up.

"We just have to put this one behind us," Erickson said.

The Rochester Diamonds begin play today in the 10U tournament with pool-play games at 1 and 5 p.m.


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