Panthers bombard Boyceville
Last year, the St. Croix Central softball team showed talent, but never was able to put all the pieces together.
Those pieces appear to have come together during the off-season.
In their first Dunn-St. Croix Conference game of the 2004 season, the Panthers bombarded Boyceville on Monday, beating the Bulldogs 20-4.
The Panthers had opened their season last Friday in a game against Cadott. This game stretched into extra innings, where Cadott scored a 4-3 win.
In Monday's win the Panthers looked far more polished than they did at any time last year. The Panthers pounded out 15 hits in the game, including two doubles and a homer.
The homer was struck by Annette Zwald, a rocket that was lined over the head of the Boyceville leftfielder. Zwald finished the game 3-4 with six runs driven in.
Jenna Heinbuch and Dayna Brown both went 3-3 at the plate for the Panthers. Heinbuch and Macey Johnson each drove home three runs.
Pitching appears to be much more stable for the Panthers this season. Senior Justina Bisch has moved in from centerfield to pitcher. She started the season by striking out the first six Cadott batters she faced last Friday.
Bisch kept the Boyceville hitters at bay Monday. When the Panthers were able to build up the big lead, coach Brian Daniel inserted freshman Brittany Butler in at pitcher for the final inning. He said with those two pitchers, the team should be well equipped at pitching all season.
Defense is an area where the Panthers should be improved too. The Panthers didn't have any errors that hurt them badly against Boyceville. Cadott was able to get a couple runs off a Panther miscue, but the defense solidified as the game progressed Friday.
Friday's game looked like a coaches' alumni meeting. Cadott is led by former Central coach Jeff Bove and another former Panther coach, Pete Nusbaum, was his usual gregarious self in the front row of the Panther bleachers.
Against Cadott, the Panthers scored twice in the second inning. Zwald started the rally with a double and she scored on Jenny Nelson's booming triple. Nelson then scored on Marie Nelson's groundout.
The Panthers sent the game to extra innings by tying the game in the seventh. Jill Hawkins singled and stole second base, later scoring on a Cadott error.
The Panthers now have a week between games. Central will be at home next Tuesday, facing Elk Mound. Two days later the Panthers play their first road game of the season, at Colfax.
St. Croix Central 20, Boyceville 4
Ecklor dh 3-1-0, Bembenek cf 2-0-1, Hiben ss 3-0-0, Hakanson c 3-0-0, Stauss lf 3-1-0, Bird rf 3-0-0, Tu.Schmidt 1b 3-2-2, Nordine ss 2-0-0, Ta.Schmidt 3b 2-0-1. Totals 25-4-3.
ST. CROIX CENTRAL (19)
M.Nelson 3b 4-1-2, Hawkins ss 4-1-0, Bisch p 2-3-1, Olson c 3-0-0, Zwald 2b 4-3-3, J.Nelson lf 2-3-1, Heinbuch rf 3-4-3, Nauman ph 0-0-0, Brown cf 3-3-3, Butler p 0-0-0, Johnson dh 3-1-2, Gillis 1b 0-0-0. Totals 28-19-15.
2B-Bisch, J.Nelson. HR-Zwald. RBI-M.Nelson, Zwald 6, Heinbuch 3, Brown 2, Johnson 3.
Boyceville 021 10=4
St. Croix Central 035 (11)x=19
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO
St. Croix Central
Bisch (W) 4 3 4 4 4 4
Butler 1 0 0 0 1 0