Blooming Prairie would like to have the third inning back. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown pitcher Addyson Taylor would like a re-do of the fourth inning, if she’s being picky.
A five-run third inning for the No. 1 seed WEM Buccaneers (17-3) blew open a close game against the No. 4 Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms (8-13) in an 11-1 win in five innings in the Subsection 1A West semifinals Thursday in Waterville.
The sophomore Taylor retired the side in order in every inning but the fourth. That’s when a slap hit to left field by freshman Macy Lembke to lead off the frame resulted in the Awesome Blossoms’ only hit, and eventually the only run scored.
Taylor struck out five, issued no walks and at the plate hit a triple and scored a run.
“Addyson Taylor threw a fantastic game for us, she was really hitting her spots tonight and keeping the batters off balance,” said WEM head coach Crystal Lamont.
Taylor was quick to point out she’s just a cog in a well-oiled machine that’s won 14 straight games.
“Honestly, just trusting my team in the field. Even if they did hit off of me, I’d trust them that they’d get it,” Taylor said. “I know I have a good team behind me and (I) just hit the spots.”
Senior teammate Ellie Ready added that Taylor “was very solid. That’s exactly what she needed to do, pitch strikes. She did awesome.”
The Bucs scored once in the first inning on a Ready single and once in the second on a Jordan Green single, but they were left wanting more. WEM left the bases loaded with one out after scoring once in the first and after scoring once in the second got caught stealing at second base and stranded two more runners.
“I think we played how we should play,” Ready said. “We didn’t make many mistakes and came out strong.”
The floodgates opened in the third inning when the Bucs batted around. A tough day in the field and a bright sun to battle made for a tough day in the field for Blooming Prairie. A pair of four errors in the game popped up in the frame. It paved the way for senior Autumn Taylor and Ready to capitalize with run-scoring singles.
Two more runs in the fourth and three in the fifth allowed WEM to walk off early with the mercy rule win.
Autumn Taylor went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Addyson Taylor went 2-for-3 and senior Allison Rients 2-for-4 with a double. Senior Lindsay Condon and senior Kylie Pittmann doubled.
Senior Allison Krohnberg pitched a complete game for Blooming Prairie. She allowed eight earned runs with a walk and two strikeouts.
WEM has won eight in a row against Blooming Prairie going back to 2017.
The Buccaneers advance to the subsection finals to face another Gopher Conference rival, No. 2 Hayfield (10-9), 10 a.m. Saturday at Todd Park in Austin. Hayfield advanced with a 5-1 win Tuesday vs. No. 6 United South Central (3-15). WEM’s remaining subsection and section games are at Todd Park.
WEM beat Hayfield 12-1 in five innings in Monday’s regular season finale and only matchup between the teams.
“They didn’t throw their best pitcher last time, so we’ll see someone a little different,” Lamont said. “So tomorrow we’ll just get back to be doing our hitting basics, cover a few things on defense, we’ve got a few baserunning things to clean up and get ready to fine-tune things for a good playoff run.”
Win or lose against Hayfield, WEM’s next game is 5 p.m. Monday.
Blooming Prairie also faces another Gopher Conference foe, No. 6 United South Central (3-16), 10 a.m. Saturday at Todd Park. The winner advances to play again at noon at Todd Park.