5/30/2013 4:03:00 PM CL beats Vikes for third time, ending girls' season
Alex Smith did a phenomenal job against Duluth Denfeld, holding the second-seeded Hunters to just one run in a complete game victory.
by CHUCK FITZER
Chisago Lakes 10, North Branch 4 The Wildcats abruptly ended North Branch’s season with a 10-4 victory in the first round of sections. The Vikings struck first in the top of the first inning with one run, but then Chisago Lakes jumped all over NB in the bottom of the first, getting seven hits and a walk in the inning and scoring six runs to go up 6-1. North Branch got two back in the third inning on a two-RBI single by Kari Berggren, but CL answered right back in the fourth with a run of their own. It seemed every time North Branch scored, CL had an immediate answer. It happened again when the Vikes scored one in the fifth, but within an inning, CL answered back with three tallies. “This game had a similar pattern to the other games against Chisago,” North Branch Head Coach Ron Trunk said. “We fell behind early, made a little run, but in the end could not find a way to win.” “Whenever Chisago Lakes and North Branch play, it’s going to be a good game,” CL Head Coach Brenda Carlson said. “We had an opportunity to score a lot of runs this year, but we needed every one of them. It really came down to who outhit who. “Ron [Trunk] does a good job with his program. I am disappointed we got paired up right away in the playoffs. We are rivals, but also friends, and it’s too bad one of us had to knock the other one out so early. But you can’t control the seeding.”
Anoka 15, Chisago Lakes 6 In a game that started at 11:30 a.m. and took over three hours, the third-seeded Anoka Tornadoes beat the sixth-seeded Wildcat softball team 15-6 in the opening game of the double elimination portion of the Section 7AAA playoffs last Saturday, May 25 at Wheeler Field in Duluth. Anoka led 15-0 after four innings and needed to hold the Wildcats to five runs or less in the top of the fifth inning to win the game by the ten run rule. But the Wildcats bats came alive, scoring five runs and prolonging the game two more innings before it was over.
Chisago Lakes 2, Duluth Denfeld 1 After the marathon with Anoka, the Wildcats had to bus over to another field to take on second-seeded Duluth Denfeld, who had also lost their first game. The Wildcats had no time to warm up. Miranda Steinmetz drove in Joplin Klick twice and Alex Smith allowed no earned runs in a dominating pitching performance as the Wildcats beat Denfeld 2-1 to knock them out of the tourney. Joplin Klick walked to open the second inning. Miranda Steinmetz followed with a double to the wall in right center to score Klick and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. The Tornadoes tied it up in the bottom of the fourth. Wildcat pitcher Alex Smith walked the first batter of the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second and she scored on an error to tie the game at 1-1. Klick doubled to the right field corner to lead off the sixth inning. Steinmetz doubled to deep left to score Klick and put the Wildcats up 2-1. Smith shut down the Tornadoes in the last two innings. Only one batter reached base and that was on an error. Smith scattered four hits, walked one and struck out four to pick up the playoff win.
Andover 10, Chisago Lakes 3 Late in the afternoon, the tired Wildcats had to bus back to the first field to take on Andover in the next game and, once again, had no time to warm up. Andover jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and added another run in the second. The Wildcats scored one in the fourth and two in the fifth to cut the lead to 4-3, but the Huskies pulled away with three runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth to beat the Wildcats 10-3 and knock them out of the playoffs. In the top of the fourth, Anne Vierling was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the Wildcats’ first run of the game. In the fifth, Sami Sandretto reached on an error to lead off the inning. One out later, Joplin Klick singled. Sandretto and Klick pulled off a double steal to put runners on second and third. Miranda Steinmetz struck out for the second out.
Smith reached on an error and Sandretto scored on the play. Quinncy Zupko singled to right to drive in Klick, cutting the Andover lead to 4-3. But Vierling struck out to end the Wildcat rally. Carlson said, “We entered sections ranked sixth overall, and that’s where we finished. None of the players had ever been to the double elimination part of the tourney, so I think their nerves got to them in the first game. It was a new experience. But our team really showed its character. We had no breaks all day and managed to take that first loss, turn it around and beat Duluth Denfeld, the number two team in the section. Not too many teams can go from their worst game of the season, such as our loss to Anoka, to playing their best game of the season. And even though we only beat Denfeld 2-1, I felt like we were in control of the game the whole time. We weren’t nervous, came to beat that team and that’s exactly what we did.” The Wildcats seem well set up for an even longer run next year. “I was pretty impressed with how the team handled everything this year,” said Carlson. “They always fought, always had heart. The seniors helped to put that heart into the younger players. The players really took hold of new ideas. And it was nice that, unlike 2012 we didn’t have to go over fundamentals all the time, especially with hitting. The players have really set up the program as a springboard for next year. A lot of young kids got some game time. Hopefully, in years to come that will help us. And Alex Smith made great strides pitching this year. She started every game. Cassie Lynch, an eighth-grader, did a good job when we needed her. Because of how screwed up our season was, Sami Sandretto didn’t get any time on the mound. This summer we’ll work with her to make sure she’s ready to be another option for us next year.”