By PATRICK SLACK
Albany no longer has the ace starting pitcher that led to repeat trips to the state tournament.
But the visiting sixth-seeded Huskies managed to conjure up some playoff magic once again in Monday’s Section 6AA opener, knocking off third-seeded Little Falls 11-6 in nine innings.
The Flyers spent the entire game in catch-up mode, yet were successful in doing so through eight innings, matching the Huskies’ two runs in the second, three in the fourth and one in the eighth.
But Albany’s five-run ninth proved to be too much, as the combination of eight errors and 13 runners left on base finally caught up to Little Falls.
Sophomore Kendra Pohlman kicked off the scoring for Little Falls with a lead-off home run in the second and junior Sierra Virnig slugged a three-run shot in the fourth to prevent Albany from pulling away.
The Flyers had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the sixth, loading the bases with one out, before Albany ducked out of trouble with a pop out and strikeout.
Down to its final out, Little Falls remained alive in the eighth on a two-out, run-scoring single by sophomore Katelynn Kanieski before Albany regained the lead in the ninth.
Seniors Jamie Jenks and Chantelle Anderson each had three hits to lead Little Falls, with senior Emily Suska, Virnig and Kanieski adding two apiece.
Junior Alea Cekalla singled and drew two walks.
Little Falls finished the season with a 7-10 record.
Seniors on this year’s team included Suska, Carley Townsend, Jenks, Anderson, Katie Stewart, Chelsey Karnowski and Kristen Gotfredson.
Albany 11 12 0
Little Falls 6 14 8
Little Falls—Jamie Jenks: 3-4, 2B, 2-R, RBI, SB; Chantelle Anderson: 3-5, 2B, R; Sierra Virnig: 2-4, HR, R, 3-RBI; Emily Suska: 2-5, R; Katelynn Kanieski: 2-5, RBI; Kendra Pohlman: 1-4, HR, R, RBI; Alea Cekalla: 1-3, 2-BB.