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Panthers give B-W a battle

For the St. Croix Central softball team, playing Baldwin-Woodville is always a good gauge of the Panthers' ability.

The Panthers faced B-W last Tuesday in the annual clash between the bordering schools. Central lost to the Blackhawks 9-3, but there were plenty of signs that the Panthers are a significantly improved team this season.

Central coach Brian Daniel used this game to give freshman Britany Butler her first varsity pitching start. Butler allowed seven runs in the second inning and two in the fifth, but Daniel said she showed that she can pitch at the varsity level.

"I'll keep Britany up at the varsity level as much as I can, but I'll play her on JV to make sure she gets enough repetitions," said Daniel.

Central actually outhit B-W in the game. Ella Olson supplied three hits and Macey Johnson two hits to lead the nine-hit Panther attack. The Blackhawks had five hits in the game, three from Julia Monicken and two from Sam Rudesill.

In the seven-run second inning, the Blackhawks were able to build the rally around two hits, a few walks and some off-target throws by the Panthers.

Daniel said the defensive highlight of the game was the play of outfielder Jenny Nelson. Switching between left and center fields, Nelson was able to make several nice catches for the Panthers.

The Panthers also scrimmaged Somerset last Thursday on the Central field. This was a good learning experience for the Panthers because Somerset does a wide variety of moves like bunting and slap hitting. Daniel said the Panthers adjusted well to the different tactics Somerset was using. He said the Panthers were also more aggressive in their hitting approach in the scrimmage.

Two road games are next up for the Panthers. They will be playing at Colfax this Thursday, with a road trip to Mondovi scheduled for next Monday. The Panthers get back to their home field next Tuesday, in a game against Elmwood.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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