St. Croix Central softball team gets things turned back aroundA three-game losing streak knocked the St. Croix Central softball team off course, but the Panthers appear to have found their way again.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
A three-game losing streak knocked the St. Croix Central softball team off course, but the Panthers appear to have found their way again.
The Panthers suffered their third straight loss last Tuesday against Pepin, which appears to be one of the top teams in this part of the state.
In last Thursday’s rainstorm, the Panthers played host to Glenwood City. The rain made for a sloppy game, but the Panthers showed some willpower, pulling out a 9-8 win.
The Panthers got to play under much better conditions on Monday and their play shined as brightly as the sun. The Panthers knocked off Boyceville by a 5-1 score.
Monday’s game saw the Panthers performing well in all aspects of the game. Junior pitcher Kelly Harrington threw a three-hitter, walking two Bulldogs while striking out seven.
The defense was just as sharp, committing one error. The Panthers also turned a double play to help Harrington get out of the sixth inning. Cansis Bodsberg hit a chopper over the mound. Central shortstop Hailey Rock fielded the ball, stepped on second base for the first out and fired to first baseman Shelby Thomley to complete the double play.
The Panthers only had five hits in the game, but they were efficient in getting their baserunners home. Leadoff hitter Kali Lawrence was the ignitor of the Panther offense. She led off the first inning with a walk, later scoring on a Harrington single.
Shaylyn Lyksett started a fifth inning rally with a walk and then Lawrence walked. Kelsey McKenna followed with one of five Panther sacrifice bunts in the game. When the Bulldogs threw the ball away, Lyksett was able to score from second base. Moments later, Lawrence scored on a groundout by Kalli Armagost.
Lyksett and Lawrence started another rally in the seventh inning. Lyksett led off with a double and she scored when Lawrence doubled. Lawrence would score on a sacrifice fly by Harrington.
The win against Glenwood City was more a matter of survival in the cold, wet conditions that seemed to give the ball a greased coating. The wet conditions made for a miserable night for both defenses.
Glenwood City looked like it had a good chance to send the game to extra innings when Frankie Munkelwitz hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning that tied the game at 8-8.
Some aggressive play by the Panthers in the bottom of the seventh prevented extra innings from happening. Thomley walked with one out. Coach Jim Anderson then signaled to Heidi Feyereisen to bunt.
“Shelby runs good and Heidi’s probably my best bunter,” Anderson said.
The play worked better than Anderson could have expected. The Glenwood City pitcher fielded the bunt and threw the ball into rightfield. With Thomley’s speed, she was able to score from first base on the play.
Harrington and Arinn DiSalvo each had two hits for the Panthers on Thursday and they both drove home two runs. Harrington, Rock and Thomley each scored twice.
The loss last Tuesday to Pepin was a bit of a shocker for the Panthers. They knew the Lakers were going to be good, but not this good. Pepin pounded out 21 hits in the contest, using a six-run rally in the sixth inning to end the game.
“They hit the heck out of the ball,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the loss would have been much worse, but he credited the Panthers with playing their best defensive game of the year in the loss. He said Rock made several glittering plays at shortstop, flagging down several hard-hit balls.
The Panthers amassed five hits in the game, led by two from Armagost.
Central will try to keep its hot streak alive this Thursday with a home game against Colfax. The Panthers will play at Mondovi on Monday, before getting a home game on Tuesday against Elk Mound.