Nicked-up Somerset softball team looks for a strong finishThe Milwaukee Brewers went through a stretch last week where they had a player injured in every game for almost a week straight. The Somerset softball team went through a similar stretch at the same time.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Milwaukee Brewers went through a stretch last week where they had a player injured in every game for almost a week straight. The Somerset softball team went through a similar stretch at the same time.
With senior pitcher Bethany Starry already nursing a strained forearm, the Spartans added Justice Rondeau, Anna Siggens and Sadie Gilbertson to the injured list during games last week.
Spartan coach Cory Lindenberg said his goal now is to get the team back to full strength by the time WIAA tournament play begins on May 24.
Somerset saw its Middle Border Conference record drop to 3-8 with losses to Ellsworth and New Richmond. On Saturday the Spartans played in a tournament at St. Croix Central. The team was overpowered by Hudson, but played better against Central, in a game that was called due to rain in the eighth inning, with the score tied 6-6.
Lindenberg tried to find a positive spin on last week’s spate of injuries.
“We may not be getting wins, but people are stepping up, getting familiar with unfamiliar positions,” he said.
By the end of the first inning against Hudson on Saturday, the Spartans were down to their third catcher. Rondeau suffered a pulled muscle in her final at-bat against New Richmond on Thursday. Gilbertson started behind the plate Saturday. The first Hudson batter clipped Gilbertson’s glove, injuring her catching hand. Sam Swanson was inserted to catch the rest of the game.
Lindenberg had suited up several junior varsity players for the Hudson game to begin getting them ready for next season. Somerset trailed 2-0 after two innings when he inserted the JV players. Hudson was able to pull away for a 12-0 win.
The Starry sisters, Bethany and Megan, led the Spartan offense against Hudson. They each had two hits.
Freshman Rachel Cloutier pitched most of the day Saturday. She went the full five innings against Hudson, then worked into the sixth inning against Central. Bethany Starry pitched the rest of the game.
The Spartan offense saw a revival against Central, scoring in four innings. The Spartans got a run in the first inning on consecutive singles from Bethany Starry, Carley Seibel and Siggens. They added another in the third on a single and stolen base by Sami Martell, who scored on Bethany Starry’s second single of the game.
Three runs scored on one play in the fourth inning. Senior Steph Berg put down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Rylie Dierich. Berg saw that Central had left second base uncovered, so she kept running. Central’s catcher threw to second base, but the ball sailed into the outfield, with Berg coming all the way around to score the third run on the play.
The Spartans got their final run in the fifth inning on a single by Siggens, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single from Haley Salley.
A lack of offense held back the Spartans in their conference losses last week. The Spartans managed four hits in a 9-1 loss to Ellsworth last Tuesday. The Spartans had defensive lapses that hurt in the game, opening up to Ellsworth rallies by giving the Panthers extra outs.
The only Spartan run came in the fifth when Martell walked, then scored on Bethany Starry’s double.
The injury bug bit before the start of Thursday’s 4-1 loss at New Richmond. Siggens injured her glove hand in warmups, leading to a shift of several players around the infield. New Richmond scored its four runs in the first inning, two of them unearned.
Cloutier started as the Spartan pitcher, with Bethany Starry taking over in the fifth inning. Lindenberg said he will likely continue this rotation. The two pitchers have vastly different styles and he’s hoping it throws off the timing of opposing hitters.
The Spartans didn’t produce much offense in the first five innings at New Richmond, but they put together two major threats in the final innings.
In the sixth inning the Spartans loaded the bases, but couldn’t get any runs home. The Spartans opened the seventh inning with three straight walks. Martell followed with a single that scored Rondeau.
Megan Starry followed with a flyout to leftfield. There was confusion on the bases and a Spartan was called for leaving third base early when tagging up. Bethany Starry batted next and ripped a shot, but it was lined directly to the Tiger second baseman for the final out of the game.
The Spartans’ season is winding down quickly. They play their final two MBC games in the upcoming days. They host MBC leader Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday, before completing their MBC schedule next Monday with a home game against Durand.