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A Spring Sports Smattering

Fri, Apr 26th, 2013
Posted in All Sports

By Paul Trende

Team Mother Nature is no longer undefeated. Multiple county baseball and softball teams finally had their openers (golf is still waiting). They didn’t get much further into their season than an opener though. The weather was good, or good enough, for a trio of days, Monday (the 15th), Tuesday (the 16th), and Saturday (the 20th), and games were played. In between, it was the doldrums of this thing that is supposed to be spring. The rest of the contests scheduled the week of April 15th were annulled due to unseasonably intolerable conditions.

In Chatfield, the Gopher baseball and softball teams (per better field conditions) each hosted St. Charles. The end results were agreeable ones with the Chosen Valley faithful. On the baseball diamond, Nate Skare was unhittable, literally. The junior pitching ace saw nine batters in three innings, and retired all nine, seven by strikeout. Offensively, Jake Neis led off the Gopher half of the first with a double. He scored on Justin Viss groundout, making it 1-0. In the second inning, sophomore Tommy Jech walloped a one-out double. He scored three batters later on a Neis double, making it 2-0 Chatfield. In the third inning, the Gophers tacked on two more runs. A Viss single was followed up by a couple Saint errors and then a Skare sacrifice fly. Thru three innings, Chatfield was firmly in control 4-0.

Then that control waned some. Jech relieved Skare. The Saints liked that. After not getting a hit thru three innings, they registered two in their first three plate appearances against the Gopher sophomore right-hander, the second a hard-hit RBI double to left center by Kameron Bailey. The next two Saints then walked, loading the bases, making things interesting. Neis then relieved Jech, and was just about as unhittable as Skare. He ended the Saints 4th inning threat with a pair of strikeouts. He then pitched the 5th and 6th innings without giving up a hit. He struck out six, but walked five. Chatfield led 5-1 heading the top of the 7th.

There, things again got interesting. The fourth Gopher pitcher, Sawyer Prinsen, took the mound. He struck out the first batter, walked the second, and then gave up a single to Bailey. Following another strikeout, Saint Dane Mueller loaded the bases with a single. Freshmen Derek McCready then nearly unloaded the bases, spanking a double to right center field. Two runners scored. Mueller, who began the play on first base, tried to make it three. But he was gunned down, right field, to second base, to home, the final tag applied by Gopher catcher T.J. Moechnig. It ended the threat, the inning, and the game. By a final of 5-3, Chatfield got win #1 of the season in as many tries. Skare (7), Neis (6), and Prinsen (2) combined for 15 strikeouts. Neis went 2-4 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI. Both hits were doubles. Viss was also 2-4 with a pair of RBI’s, a run scored, and a stolen base. Bailey (2-4, 2B, RBI, R) and McCready (1-1, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led St. Charles.

On the Chatfield softball diamond, it was less about pitching and more about hitting and defense. The Gophers took a 2-0 lead in the second, courtesy of an RBI double by Ashley Wolter and an RBI single by Candace Gould. St. Charles tied the game in the top half of the third, as Rachel Hemann singled in two.

From there, it was all Gophers. They answered with a five-run bottom of the third. They tacked on three more in the fourth, took the fifth inning off, and then Wolter ended the game prematurely with a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 6th. Chatfield got the win 12-2 in six innings. Every Gopher starter reached base at least once. Seven of the nine players chalked up hits. Seven of the nine players scored runs. Wolter, a senior designated hitter, led the way, going 3-3 (1B, 2B, HR) with 3 RBIs, 3 runs scored, and a walk. Gould, a senior second base-person, was 2-3 and also had 3 RBIs. The duo did so batting seventh and eighth in the lineup. Kirsten Keefe was 1 for 3 but drove in two, scored twice, and stole a base. Jennifer Hanson got the win, going the distance, scattering eight hits, allowing just one earned run, and walking three, while striking out none. She let her defense do the work. The Gopher defense behind her was error-less (Hanson had both of her squad’s miscues). St. Charles had five errors.

Gopher softball added a second win later in the week, an 18-5 victory over Pine Island at a Saturday tournament. Their bats were again hot (10 extra base hits). Sophomores Shelby Bernard (3-4, 2 2B’s, HR, 4 RBI’s) and Brook Irish (2-2, 2B, HR, 5 RBIs) each got to practice their HR trots with their first varsity dingers. Brook recorded the first pitching win of her varsity career too. Eight Gophers had two hits led by shortstop Sidney Irish’s 4 for 6 (2 2B’s, RBI) performance. MaKenzie Miller (2-4, 2B, RBI), Keefe (2-5, 2B), Megan LaPlante (2-5), Maddy Larrabee (2-5, 2B), and Janessa Erding (2-5, RBI) also got in on the action. The Gophers are 2-0.

In Preston, the Fillmore Central/Lanesboro Falcons softball season began similarly agreeably. Against Plainview-Elgin-Millville, the score was tied 2-2 after five. But then FCL got the biggest hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Junior Tori Peterson smacked a two-run double to break the tie. The Falcons finished it out from there for the 4-2 victory. Sophomore Taylor Sprenger, in her varsity debut, stepped to the plate three times and rapped out singles all three occasions, driving in a run. Besides Peterson’s hit, Morgan Malley supplied the rest of the offense and all the pitching. The sophomore third-year starter was 1 for 3 with an inside-the-park (presumably) HR and two runs scored. On the mound, she went the distance allowing four hits, one earned run, while striking out 13 (with three walks).

The Mabel-Canton Cougar softball team played no games during the week, but joined Chatfield in playing a Saturday tourney. M-C trekked to Lake City and, after just two games this season, they have more wins than all of last the season. The Coug’s downed Minneapolis Southwest in a 12-11 nail-biter to move to 2-0. Hannah Nolte was 2 for 4 with two SB’s, two runs scored, and an RBI. Eighth grader Coranda Vickerman was 1 for 2 with three runs scored and three SB’s. Junior pitcher Sara Lind picked up the win pitching all seven innings. M-C then played Goodhue and fell 16-6 in five innings. Four Cougars each had one hit. Vickerman (1 for 2) stole another base and drove in a run. Abby Hanson (0-2) scored a pair of runs, drove in one, and stole a base.

The other county teams (to play) lost their season debuts. R-P baseball fell to Lewiston-Altura 15-6. The Trojans lost game two of the season a night later to ultra-tough Wabasha-Kellogg 21-4. The Falcons pounded out 25 hits and had an 11-run top of the 7th, blowing open a 10-4 affair. Ben Glomski was 5 for 6 with 7 RBI’s. R-P softball fell to W-K as well, 9-5. The Trojans did get a career-debut 2-run HR from freshmen Lauren Hadley. Kendra Crawford was 2 for 3 with a double, 2 runs scored, and three stolen bases, but she also took the loss from the mound (6 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 5 K). R-P out hit W-K six (four of which were for extra bases) to four, but walks (six for R-P, zero for W-K), wild pitches (five for R-P, zero for W-K), and stolen bases (nine for W-K, three for R-P) spelled the Trojans demise. Rounding out the action, GMLOK baseball lost a tough 4-3 decision to the Cardinals from Lewiston-Altura.

Track and Field

04-15 > Winona Open at Paul Giel Field (The R-P-H girls finished 8th of 14, the boys 9th of 14. The Kingsland girls finished 11th and the boys 14 (each of 14). Meet featured La Crosse Central (1st place boys and girls), Winona High (2nd place girls, 3rd place boys), Arcadia (3rd place girls), and Winona-Cotter (2nd place boys). Top five R-P-H girl finishers: Mariah Olson (3rd, 3200 meters), the 4x100 squad - Amy Todd, Cody Manfull, Kenzie Ness, & Anna Sweet (3rd), Sierra McNamer (4th, 100 meter hurdles), C. Manfull (4th, Pole Vault). Sweet also finished 7th in the 100 meters. McNamer also finished 10th at the 300 meter hurdles. Kate MacKenzie finished 7th at the 300 hurdles and 8th at the 100 hurdles. Elizabeth Loken finished 8th at the Discus and 12th at the Shot Put. Top five R-P-H boy finishers: Tyler McLellan (1st, Long Jump), Austin O’Hare (3rd, 3200 meters), the 4x100 squad – Casey McLellan, Keean Benson, Dan Thorson, & T. McLellan (4th), the 4x200 squad – C. McLellan, Noah Carlson, D. Thorson, & T. McLellan (4th), and D. Thorson (5th, Triple Jump). Carlson also finished 7th at the 400 meters and 10th in the Long Jump. Top five gal Knight finishers: Lacey Schwartz (2nd, 100 meters), Erica Earley (4th, 1600 meters). Top five boy Knight finishers: DeAngilo Funches (3rd, Long Jump).

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