Spartans score early, late to earn first winThe Somerset softball team has been playing well enough to win. In the cold and sleet on Monday, they finally got their win.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Somerset softball team has been playing well enough to win. In the cold and sleet on Monday, they finally got their win.
The Spartans rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat Ellsworth 4-3.
It appeared the Spartans might take care of the win early in this game when their first four batters all came through with hits. Kelsey Rorabeck led off the bottom of the first with a double. Bethany Starry, Cede Breault and Slammin’ Sammi Smith followed with singles and the Spartans quickly had a 2-0 lead.
Ellsworth got one run back on a Spartan throwing error in the second inning. Ellsworth did its best hitting of the game in the fifth inning, producing two runs.
The Spartans threatened in the fourth inning, leaving the bases loaded. When they got base runners in the sixth inning, they found a way to milk two runs out of the situation.
Brittany Peterson led off the sixth with a walk and stole second base. Rorabeck then walked and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Starry followed with a pop fly into the swirling wind that the Ellsworth shortstop couldn’t handle. When the ball hit the ground, Peterson sprinted home with the tying run.
Smith walked to load the bases. Ellsworth then changed pitchers before sophomore Krista Berger came to bat. Spartan coach Carrie Kjellberg emphasized to Berger the importance of making contact and not overswinging in the pressure situation.
Berger listened. She made contact with the second pitch she saw, flaring a single just over the head of the Ellsworth first baseman. It brought Rorabeck home with the go-ahead run.
The Spartans still had to get Ellsworth out in the seventh inning. They did so without giving up a baserunner to complete their 4-3 win.
The game was played in a cold, whipping wind, with intermittent rain and sleet showers. Kjellberg put out a challenge to her team before the game.
“I told them whoever wins the game will be the tougher team, that can deal with the weather,” Kjellberg said.
Starry showed again in this game that she’s one of the bright young pitchers in the Middle Border Conference. She threw a five-hitter while striking out 11 Ellsworth batters.
Prescott close call
The Spartans gave one of their best showings thus far in 2009 during a 4-2 loss at Prescott last Thursday.
In the first inning the Spartans took a 1-0 lead. Kelsey Rorabeck led off with a walk and scored on Sammi Smith’s single.
“Sammi is hitting the ball incredibly,” Kjellberg said. “She’s hitting .660 in conference games.”
Prescott scored once in the second inning and added two unearned runs in the third inning. The Spartans cut the margin to 3-2 in the fourth inning. Smith singled to leftfield and scored on Cede Breault’s double to centerfield.
Starry pitched another strong game for the Spartans. The freshman gave up nine hits, but only walked one batter while striking out two. One of Prescott’s runs was earned.
The Spartans were doubled up last Tuesday as well, losing 8-4 to Osceola.
The difference in this game was a one-inning defensive letdown by the Spartans. Three errors during the Osceola fifth inning led to five Chieftain runs.
Kjellberg said the team’s defense isn’t bad, it just needs more attitude.
“We didn’t have a ton of errors. We just weren’t real aggressive. We have to get more confident and more aggressive,” she said.
The Spartan offense was able to put together several good threats in the game. Starry doubled to lead off the second inning. Brittany Peterson’s sac bunt moved her to third and Starry scored on Abby Biedler’s single.
In the sixth inning the Spartans scored twice. Smith walked, stole two bases and scored on Starry’s single. Starry would score on a single from Biedler.
The final Spartan run came in the seventh inning. Rorabeck walked, stole second and scored on Smith’s two-out triple.
The Spartans played a pair of games in a tournament at Prescott on Saturday.
The Spartans again were competitive in both games. They lost to Prescott 9-2 and to New Richmond 15-5, though this game was close until the final innings.
“Nobody’s really outplayed (this season), except for New Richmond in those last two innings,” Kjellberg said.
She said one of the highlights has been the defensive progress made by sophomore shortstop Alicia Siggens.
“Alicia is just doing phenomenally at shortstop,” Kjellberg said.
The Spartans see New Richmond again this Thursday, playing at the Tigers home field, Hatfield Park. The Tigers play at home on Friday in a non-conference game against St. Croix Falls.
On Monday and Tuesday the Spartans play home conference games. The opponent Monday is Amery and the opponent Tuesday is Baldwin-Woodville.