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Prep softball: Willmar trips up Alex

WILLMAR — Willmar scored the go-ahead run on an infield ground ball in the bottom of the fifth, and Leah Ruter pitched seven strong innings in Willmar’s 5-4 win over Alexandria in a Central Lakes Conference game on Friday.

Trailing 4-3, Megan Rudnick hit a leadoff single and stole second. She advanced to third on a bunt, and after a Kaitlyn Kienholz walk, Jordan Martins reached on an error and scored Rudnick to tie it up.

One batter later, Jamie Reyes grounded out to score Kienholz with the eventual game-winning run.

“It was an intense game,” Willmar head coach Shannon Cayler said. “Kind of back-and-forth. It was great to see the intensity out of those kids.”

Willmar benefitted from some strong defense as well.

In the top of the sixth, Alexandria had runners on second and third with two outs, and shortstop Martins ended the inning with a diving catch behind the third base line into the fence.

“I don’t think she’s ever run that fast,” Cayler said.

Centerfielder Reyes made a great catch an inning later.

“(Reyes) swiped it out of the air right before it hit the ground,” Cayler said.

Willmar scored in the first on a Rudnick RBI single and twice in the second on an Amelia Amon double and a McKenzie Hastad single.

Ruter struck out five and allowed two earned runs in her complete-game performance.

Willmar has won both of its games against Alexandria this season, and improved to 4-5 in the CLC and 5-6 overall.

They play Saturday at home against New Prague.

Willmar 5, Alexandria 4

Alexandria          021 100 0 — 4 5 1

Willmar (4-5, 5-6)              120 020 x — 5 7 4

HITTING – Alexandria: Anna Lee 1-3, 2b, Courtney Bitzan 1-3, rbi … Willmar: Leah Ruter 1-3, r, Megan Rudnick 3-4, r, rbi, Sarah Stadem 1-3, Amelia Amon 1-2, r, rbi, McKenzie Hastad 1-2, rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Alexandria: Taylor Ellingson (L) 6-7-5-4-5-6 … Willmar: Leah Ruter (W) 7-5-4-2-4-5

Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

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