St. Croix Central softball wins 12-11 slugfestWhen the bats of the St. Croix Central softball team catch fire, there aren’t many teams that can match the Panthers’ production.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
When the bats of the St. Croix Central softball team catch fire, there aren’t many teams that can match the Panthers’ production.
Include Mondovi’s softball team in that group. Mondovi pushed the Panthers for all they were worth on Monday and the Panthers answered, winning 12-11 in eight innings.
Panther senior Shelby Thomley scored the game-winner. She led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to leftfield. Amanda Ruvelson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Thomley to third base. Senior Shaylyn Lyksett followed with her third hit of the game, a single to right-center that brought home Thomley with the winning run.
The Panthers put on a hitting showcase, pounding out 18 hits in the win. Junior Kalli Armagost put together one of the best single game hitting performances in Central history. Armagost went 5-5 at the plate, including a pair of home runs, and she drove home five runs. Armagost hit a solo homer in the third inning and a two-run homer in the fifth. She nearly bashed another, sending a drive to the base of the fence in the sixth inning.
Mondovi scored four runs in the top of the first inning. For the Panthers, that was just a minor bump in the road.
“We just kept battling back,” said Central coach Jimmy Anderson.
Central got its first run on Armagost’s third inning homer. The tide turned when Central scored five runs in the fifth inning. The Panthers extended their lead to 11-4 with five more runs in the sixth inning.
Mondovi has some capable hitters too. When the Panthers committed a costly error in the seventh inning, the Buffalo girls built upon it, rallying for seven runs to tie the game.
Armagost wasn’t the only Panther to have a big game on Monday. Lyksett’s three hits drove home four runs. Kelly Harrington also finished with three hits and Thomley and Hailey Rock each produced two hits.
Last Friday was one of the rare instances lately when the Panther offense was silenced. Spring Valley-Elmwood beat the Panthers 3-0. SV-E pitcher Rachel Samdahl limited the Panthers to five hits.
“I think she’s the best pitcher in the conference. She’s the fastest,” Anderson said.
Harrington put up a strong pitching battle against Samdahl, throwing a seven-hitter. Rock was the only Panther to get multiple hits in the loss, going 2-2.
Last Thursday’s game was another example of Central’s slugging ability. Colfax had beaten the Panthers 7-1 in the first half of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference season. The Panthers are playing much better ball lately and that was reflected in their 13-6 win over the Vikings.
Seventeen hits from the Panthers led to the 13 runs. The Panthers have become late-inning demons. They led Colfax 2-1 after four innings. In the final three innings the Panthers put together three rallies. They scored three runs in the fifth, five runs in the sixth and seven more in the seventh to break open the game.
Armagost, Thomley, Harrington and Arinn DiSalvo each came through with three hits in the game. Armagost scored four runs and drove home three more. Thomley drove home four of the runs and Rock brought home three of them.
The WIAA Division 2 regional tournament is the next item on the agenda for the Panthers. The Panthers received the sixth seed in the regional tournament bracket. That means they open playoff action on the road. They will be playing this Thursday in the opening round at Ellsworth. The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the second round of playoffs next Tuesday, facing the winner of the game between Bloomer and Somerset.