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Spartans' loss of focus hurts in WIAA seeding

The Somerset softball team continues to be one of the hardest teams to figure out in the area.

Are they the team that played an outstanding game against Middle Border Conference champion New Richmond? Are they the team that fell flat against Osceola, the bottom team in the MBC?

The inconsistent play led to the Spartans drawing the seventh seed in the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament bracket. The Spartans will start the tournaments on Thursday, May 18, when they play at Cumberland, which received the second seed.

On Monday the Spartans played at Ellsworth, losing to the Panthers 6-4. The shining moment for the Spartans in this game came in the fourth inning. Kayla Solum pounded a three-run homer over the fence at Ellsworth.

"It was just an awesome hit," said Spartan coach Jennifer Nickowski.

The only other Spartan threat in the game was in the seventh inning. Elysa Putz doubled to lead off the inning and she scored on Lisa Borgstrom's groundout.

On Friday the Spartans played in a tournament in Glenwood City and they put together two strong games.

They opened up facing the Hilltoppers and the game was called a tie after eight innings, with the score 1-1. Glenwood City scored on a homer on the second pitch of the game. After that Somerset pitcher Kim Kazle was sensational, allowing one hit in the rest of the game.

Somerset got its only run in the fifth inning. Bre Krohn walked and scored on Kazle's single.

Mallory Rorabeck was Somerset's standout hitter in that game, with a single, double and triple. Karen Hennessey was the defensive standout, with several tough catches in left field.

In the second round of the tournament Somerset beat Clear Lake 10-6. Nickowski had Allie Wold pitch and Clear Lake scored five runs in three innings against Wold. Kazle pitched the final four innings and did not allow a hit.

Rorabeck continued her hot hitting, with two singles and a triple, scoring three runs. Elysa Putz doubled twice and Krohn also produced two hits.

Last Thursday the Spartans showed what happens when they aren't focused for a game, losing to Osceola 13-9. The Spartans scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh after being dormant much of the game.

Nickowski said the team has trouble being focused at the start of every game. She said this is the kind of result they get when they don't come into the game focused.

Somerset gained New Richmond's respect in last Tuesday's game. Somerset got outstanding pitching from junior Kim Kazle. Kazle threw a three-hitter, limiting the Tigers to their lowest hit total of the season. Kazle got stronger as the game went on too. She only allowed one baserunner in the final four innings, that coming on a fifth inning walk.

The Spartan defense made the plays behind Kazle, including several tough plays.

"Their centerfielder (Katie Chevrier) made some really tough plays and their shortstop (Bre Krohn) made some nice plays," said New Richmond coach Jim McCullum.

Nickowski agreed, saying "I thought this was the best game I've seen all year."

Chevrier looked like Torii Hunter in center field, as she roamed the outfield making difficult catches. Kelsie Rorabeck in left field also made a tumbling catch for the third out in the fifth inning.

Somerset got its only run in the first inning. Bre Krohn singled, stole second and came around to score on two New Richmond errors.

The Spartans wrap up the regular season with three games this week. Thursday they play at Amery and Friday they play at St. Croix Central. The regular season finale is a game at Durand next Monday.

Ellsworth 6, Somerset 4



Putz 3b 4-1-2, Krohn s 3-0-1, M.Rorabeck c 3-0-0, Borgstrom 2b 3-0-0, Kazle p 4-0-0, K.Rorabeck rf 2-1-0, Chevrier cf 3-1-2, Solum 1b 3-1-1, Hennessey lf 3-0-2. Totals 25-4-6.


Lorenz ss 4-0-0, Biel 3b 3-0-1, Hughes p 3-0-0, Eggenberger c 3-1-1, Lippert 1b 2-2-1, Halls cf 3-2-1, Place lf 1-1-0, Winger rf 2-0-1, Olson dp 3-0-0, Murphy 2b 0-0-0. Totals 24-6-5.

2B-Putz. HR-Solum. RBI-Solum 3, Borgstrom.

Somerset 000 300 1=4

Ellsworth 030 030 x=6



Kazle (L) 6 6 6 3 4 6

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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