GLENWOOD -- Laura Paulson outdueled Taylor Semler in the pitcher's circle and a hustle play from a pinch runner al-lowed Minnewaska to edge Benson/Hancock 2-1 in an 11-inning marathon Wed-nesday and win a piece of the West Central South Conference softball title.
After both teams failed to capitalize on quality scoring chances in the ninth and 10th innings, Minnewaska (14-2, 17-3) got it done in the bottom of the 11th.
With one out Laura Paulson singled and Minnewaska coach Steve Hoffmann then inserted Lexi Amundson to run for Paulson. Amundson responded by stealing second base during Brenna Jenks' at-bat. Semler later got Jenks to fly out before Brooke Falk hit a bloop single just over the shortstop's reach. But since there was two outs, Amundson kept running and was able to score standing up as the Brave/Owls struggled to field Falk's hit.
It was the first run that the Brave/Owls and the Lakers produced since Mallory Jensen scored on a throwing error with two outs in the third for Benson/Hancock (13-3, 14-4).
"I told the girls it's a conference championship (game) and that it doesn't say co-champs on the trophy," said Hoffmann. "At the beginning of the year if someone told me that we would win the title, I'd take it with teams like Benson/Hancock, Paynesville and Morris."
Paynesville won its half of the conference title on Tuesday by upending Yellow Medicine East.
Minnewaska was shut out for nine consecutive innings by Semler after Paulson singled in Jordan Stalker, who had doubled, in the first. Semler didn't walk a batter and struck out five.
Paulson earned the win after recording 11 strikeouts and holding the Brave/Owls scoreless for the last eight innings.
Benson/Hancock first baseman Kendra Schmidgall extended the game after throwing out a runner at the plate in the ninth. The Lakers avoided trouble in the top of the 10th when the Brave/Owls failed to score after loading the bases.
The Lakers could have ended the game in their half of the 10th after Abby Kreitlow tripled, but Aundrea Johnson was robbed of a hit when Benson/Hancock left fielder Mallory Jensen made a running catch.
Minnewaska 2, Benson/Hancock 1
B/H 001 000 000 00 -- 1 8 2
Waska 100 000 000 01 -- 2 10 3
HITTING - Benson/Hancock: Tasha Wiebold 1-for-5; Sara Rajewsky 2-for-5; Datrianna Jensen 2-for-5, 2b; Brennan Hagen 1-for-4; Megan Jepma 1-for-5; Mallory Jensen 1-for-4 ... Minnewaska: Abby Kreitlow 3-for-5, 3b; Jordan Stalker 2-for-5; Laura Paulson 2-for-5, rbi; Brenna Jenks 1-for-5; Brooke Falk 1-for-5, rbi; Jillian Hendrickson 1-for-4
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Benson/Hancock: Taylor Semler (L) 102/3-10-2-1-0-5 ... Minnewaska: Laura Paulson (W) 11-8-1-0-1-11