ALEXANDRIA -- The Willmar Cardinals used walks and timely hits to beat Alexandria 8-2 on Thursday and tie for third place in the final Central Lakes Conference standings.
Alexandria beat Willmar 11-3 in the season's first meeting on April 20 in Willmar.
Both teams end up 9-5 in league games, behind co-champions Brainerd and Rocori.
Willmar scored five times on walks issued by Alexandria starter Jacque Brown.
Willmar's Heather Horning gave up six hits and just one walk. Six strikeouts helped defuse four errors by Willmar in the field.
Willmar scored four runs in the fourth. Megan Rudie swatted an RBI single, Haylee Hastad followed with a single through the middle for two more runs and Chelsey Hamman singled in the fourth run.
In a three-run fifth for Willmar, Katie Switzer followed two walks by pulling a pitch over the right-fielder's head for a two-run triple.
Willmar (11-7) is off until Friday, May 28, when it plays New Prague at 5 p.m. in the opening round of the Section 2AAA playoffs in Eden Prairie. The Cardinals are the No. 9 seed and a win over No. 8 New Prague would put Willmar into the quarterfinals later that day against top-seeded Shakopee at 7 p.m.
Willmar 8, Alexandria 2
Willmar (9-5, 11-7) 040 130 0 -- 8 7 4
Alex (9-5, 14-6) 001 000 1 -- 2 6 0
HITTING - Willmar: Haylee Hastad 2-for-4, 3 rbi; Chelsey Hamman 2-for-4, rbi; Katie Switzer 1-for-1, 3b, 2 runs 2 rbi; Megan Rudie 1-for-3, 2 rbi; Addy Nelsen 1-for-3 ... Alexandria: Katee Gearman 2-for-3; Gracie Bruzek 2-for-4, 3b, rbi; Lauren Trump 1-for-3; Brianna Ebert 1-for-3
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Willmar: Heather Horning (W) 7-6-2-1-1-6 ... Alexandria: Jacque Brown (L) 5-5-8-8-6-1, Taylor Ellingson 2-2-0-0-1-2