Albion 18U makes district run, qualifies for state softball

The Albion 18 & Under softball team had a banner week, improving its season record to 11-4 and placing second in district tournament play at Pierce.
Albion 18U prepared for the district event by thrashing visiting Pierce 19-0 Wednesday, as Ashtyn Hedlund recorded a four-inning no-hitter.
After Hedlund struck out three straight batters in the top of the first, Albion tallied eight runs in the bottom of the frame. Claire Choat and Madisyn Cunningham had singles for Albion and Lauren Hedlund clobbered a two-run home run. Albion had an even bigger third inning, crossing the plate 11 times.

Albion began district play in successful fashion Saturday, defeating O’Neill Pride 12-5 with a late rally. The teams seesawed throughout the contest, with Albion taking a tenuous 5-4 lead in the sixth when Lauren Hedlund tripled and scored. A seven-run outburst in the seventh erased any doubt of the decision. Albion 18U continued Sunday with an 8-3 decision over O’Neill Heat. Again, it was late fireworks, as Albion erased a 2-0 deficit with a six-run fourth inning. Beckman and Grape opened that sixth with consecutive walks and Brodersen doubled both runners home. Lauren Hedlund drew a two-out walk, Ashtyn Hedlund doubled and Cunningham capped the inning with a two-run home run blast.

Albion’s win streak was halted Sunday afternoon, with Ponca using a late burst to secure a 6-2 victory. Weidner’s RBI triple in the fourth helped Albion trim a 3-0 deficit to one, but Ponca tallied three times in the seventh to put the game on ice. Ashtyn Hedlund took the loss, surrendering 10 hits and six runs (three earned). Albion rapped eight hits in the game, including two by Lauren Hedlund.
Albion 18U bounced back to again top O’Neill Heat in a 15-8 slugfest. Albion pounded out 10 hits and drew 11 walks in the contest. The local 18U’s had a big start, taking a 9-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Ashtyn Hedlund had a single and double in the frame and Weidner also doubled home two baserunners. O’Neill got as close as 11-8 with four runs in the top of the fourth, but Albion answered with four of its own in the bottom, paced by Cunningham’s double and singles from Ashtyn Hedlund, Brodersen and Miller.

Albion could not foil Ponca in the final, dropping a 6-5 heartbreaker Sunday night when Ponca tallied three times in the bottom of the seventh. Cunnigham belted a first-inning home run to get Albion off to a good start and the 18U’s took a 5-2 lead with four runs in the top of the fifth. Lauren Hedlund sparked the inning with a one-out triple and Ashtyn Hedlund followed with a two-run homer. Miller’s bases-loaded double drove in Choat and Brodersen to complete the rally. Ponca had the final answer, however, parlaying a walk, double, Albion error and single into the three winning runs in the game’s final at-bat.

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