St. Peter softball team faces a trio of formidable foes in the Mankato West Invitational on Saturday at Caswell Park.

The Class AAA Saints fell to Class AA No. 1 ranked Maple Lake, Class AAA No. 1 Mankato West and Class AAAA Chaska which beat Maple Lake 13-5 in the tourney.

“We knew that all three of these teams were going to be great competition,” St. Peter coach Heidi Niemeyer said. “We know that we have to play great teams to get better, and I believe that we absolutely got better on Saturday.

“This was a good chance to get at bats against really solid pitching and to play defense against some run producing offenses. Next time we compete against strong competition we are going to be more calm and confident in ourselves and our team.”

Game 1: Maple Lake 10, St. Peter 0

This was the team that beat St. Peter in the championship game at state in 2018.

“They have a great program, but the head coach said that their numbers were down this year,” Niemeyer said. “The pitcher we faced is a junior, but has already committed to a D1 school in Kentucky. Needless to say, she did a great job of keeping us off the bases.

St. Peter had one lone hit from Alyssa Hrdlicka, who went 1 for 2. Lilly Ruffin and Lauren Niemeyer got on base by error and a walk.

“Our defense had a tough time during the first inning,” Niemeyer said. “We were nervous, and it was obvious. Once we settled in, we started making the plays.

“Pitching was combined from the Pettis sisters who did a great job with the pressure of such a good team. They are a good hitting team as well.”

Maya Pettis pitched the first innings, allowing two runs (unearned) on one hit, no walks and two strikeouts. Ryenne Pettis pitched the last four innings, allowing eight runs (five earned) on seven hits, three walks and three strikeouts

Game 2: Mankato West 4, St. Peter 0

“Offensively we had some quality at bats in game 2,” Niemeyer said. “We even loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th inning with no outs. West called time and put in their ace pitcher to end the game.”

Five different players had a hit for the Saints: McKenna VanZee, Ryenne Pettis, Grace Remmert, Dani Johnson and Ruffin.

“Our defense was so much more relaxed,” Niemeyer said. “Hannah Brenke had an exceptional game at 2nd base with seven assists and two put outs.

“Maya Pettis pitched the complete game and seemed to find her rhythm early and kept the ball low and outside to produce many ground ball outs.”

Maya Pettis pitched a seven-hitter with three walks, three strikeouts and two earned runs.

Game 3: Chaska 5, St. Peter 3

The Saints changed leads with Chaska back and forth a few times during the game.

Down 3-2 in the 4th, Niemeyer hit a solo home run to tie up the game. The game ended with Chaska scoring two runs in the bottom of the 7th. Maya Pettis pitched the complete game.

Maya Pettis allowed three earned runs on eight hits, one walk and one strikeout.

Niemeyer and Brenke both finished 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI. Ruffin also hit 1 for 3.

Remmert doubled in going 1 for 3.

VanZee, Ryenne Pettis and Sophia Doherty all finished 1 for 4.

Reach Sports Editor Pat Beck at 931-8566 or follow him on @SPHSportsPat. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

St. Peter Herald Sports Editor covers St. Peter, Cleveland, Le Center, Le Sueur-Henderson and Tri-City United and Gustavus Adolphus College. Fishing, tennis and golf enthusiast

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