Somerset softball learning to play with best of Middle Border ConferenceEllsworth and Prescott were two top Middle Border Conference teams the Somerset softball team couldn’t beat last year.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Ellsworth and Prescott were two top Middle Border Conference teams the Somerset softball team couldn’t beat last year.
So when the Spartans faced both those opponents last week, they knew the games would measure whether the Spartans can reach their goal of being MBC contenders this season.
The Spartans reached that goal. They lost 5-1 at Ellsworth on Thursday, but they knocked off Prescott 3-1 at Larry Forrest Memorial Park last Tuesday. This was Prescott’s first MBC loss and it leaves Prescott and Somerset tied for second place in the MBC standings with 2-1 records. Ellsworth and Baldwin-Woodville are tied at that top of the standings with 3-0 records.
“I was hoping to get one of the two games,” Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg said of last week’s schedule. “Hopefully, the girls are starting to learn they’re good enough to compete in these games.”
Somerset senior pitcher Bethany Starry did another outstanding job in the Prescott win. She allowed six hits, but didn’t walk a batter. She struck out four Prescott batters. Prescott’s third inning run was unearned.
The Spartans had five hits, but they made effective use of every baserunner. Sami Martell led off the second inning with a bunt. She moved to third base on Justice Rondeau’s sacrifice bunt. Anna Siggens then singled Martell home.
Prescott scored in the third and the score remained 1-1 until the fifth inning. Spartan shortstop Sadie Gilbertson led off the fifth with a double and she moved up on a wild pitch. Carley Seibel followed with a deep fly ball that gave Gilbertson ample time to sprint home for the tie-breaking run.
Martell led off the sixth inning with another walk and Rondeau bunted her to second base. Lindenberg then sent in senior Haley Salley as a pinch-hitter. Salley drove a single to centerfield, with Martell racing home from second base.
“It was nice to see Haley come through. She’s been swinging a good bat,” Lindenberg said.
Starry took care of business from there. She didn’t allow Prescott a baserunner in the sixth or seventh inning.
Thursday’s game proved to be a pitching duel between Starry and Ellsworth’s Halle Hatch. They both allowed one earned run, but a couple Somerset defensive miscues allowed the Panthers to score four unearned runs.
Ellsworth scored once in the first inning. The Spartans tied the game in the third. Rondeau led off with a single and Salley bunted her to second base. Siggens followed with a run-scoring single.
The only other hit in the game for the Spartans was a double by Megan Starry.
Ellsworth was able to score one run in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth inning off minor Somerset defensive mistakes. Lindenberg said that in games of this importance, the small defensive plays like hitting the cutoff, are often the difference maker.
The Spartans now hit a streak of three straight road games. They will play at Amery on Thursday. They travel to Baldwin-Woodville next Tuesday, then trek to Durand two days later.