Somerset softball puts up a battle against PrescottMonday’s game wasn’t a win, but it was a step in the right direction for the Somerset softball team.
Monday’s game wasn’t a win, but it was a step in the right direction for the Somerset softball team.
The Spartans suffered their fourth straight loss on Monday at Prescott. There were good things that can be gleaned from the 1-0 loss to the Cardinals.
After a rough defensive patch last week, the Spartans only had one defensive miscue in Monday’s game. Unfortunately, that dropped fly ball in the second inning allowed the only run of the game to score.
If the Spartans thought their season was over after last week’s injury to senior pitcher Bethany Starry, they can rest easy. Freshman Rachel Cloutier showed on Monday that she is a strong second option for the Spartans. Prescott has the second highest run total in the conference, but Cloutier held them without an earned run on Monday. Cloutier held Prescott to six hits, recording four strikeouts.
The Spartans came up with a dynamic defensive play in the sixth inning to stay in contention. Prescott loaded the bases with one out. The next batter hit a flyball to Megan Starry in leftfield. Starry made the catch, then fired the ball home where catcher Justice Rondeau applied the tag to get the double play.
Somerset’s issue Monday was hitting. Somerset coach Cory Lindenberg said Prescott’s pitcher doesn’t throw hard, but her pitches had a tailing action as they reached the plate. Somerset was held to two hits despite several hard-hit balls late in the game.
Three losses and an injury to their starting pitcher turned last week into a nightmarish experience for the Somerset softball team.
The week didn’t start that way. The Spartans faced MBC leader Baldwin-Woodville and the Spartans put up an excellent battle, losing 4-0 to the team that finished second in the state last year.
No team has had less than a four-run margin against the undefeated Blackhawks this season.
Beth Starry only gave up two earned runs in the game, allowing the Blackhawks nine hits.
“Beth did a heckuva job of keeping them off balance by pitching inside,” said Lindenberg.
Third baseman Anna Siggens got the Spartans out of one big jam in the game. The Blackhawks loaded the bases with one out. Siggens fielded a hot smash, tagging the runner at third base and throwing across the diamond to complete the double play.
B-W pitcher Abby Klopp limited the Spartans to four hits. Each pitcher walked one batter.
Lindenberg said it was in the B-W game that Starry first admitted she was having arm issues, though he suspected she had been dealing with forearm tightness for several games.
Defensive woes really bit the Spartans in a seesaw 9-8 loss at Durand last Thursday. The Spartans put together two big rallies, but that wasn’t enough to overcome their own mistakes.
Durand led 2-0 when Somerset scored three times in the third inning. Triples from Starry and Sadie Gilbertson were the key ingredients in that rally.
Durand answered with three runs in the fifth inning and both teams scored once in the sixth, leaving Somerset in a 6-4 hole.
The Spartans saved their best rally for last, using five hits to score four times in the top of the seventh inning. Justice Rondeau, Haley Salley, Megan Starry, Siggens and Carley Seibel all contributed hits to the rally.
Unfortunately, the Spartans couldn’t hang onto the lead. Durand scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, plating the winning run with a hit down the rightfield line.
“That was an emotionally taxing game,” Lindenberg said.
Thursday’s struggles carried into Friday’s home game against Osceola. Somerset had beaten Osceola 6-1 when they met in the opening game of the season. This time the Spartans struggled mightily in the early innings, falling behind 13-4 in the first three innings. Neither team scored the rest of the way, leaving the Spartans with a 13-4 defeat.
Starry’s injury was clearly affecting her pitching and Lindenberg pulled her after three innings. This was the first time Starry had been pulled from a game in her career, showing the deep competitive fire she possesses.
Cloutier pitched the final four innings for the Spartans. The young left-hander showed promise, not allowing a run in four innings. Because of Starry’s injury, Lindenberg said he expected Cloutier to get several starts in this busy week, when the Spartans play five times.
Gilbertson drove in all four of Somerset’s runs in Friday’s game, on a pair of doubles. Seibel led the team with three hits and Siggens had two hits.
Sami Martell also had three hits in the game. Lindenberg has had several players try slap hitting from the left side of the plate. Martell and Rylie Dierich have adapted to the tactic well, with both of them hitting above .300.
The Spartans will be in action this Thursday when they play at New Richmond. The Spartans will be part of a tournament at St. Croix Central on Saturday, playing games at 10 a.m. and noon. The next home game for the Spartans will arrive next Tuesday, when the Spartans host Amery.