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Somerset softball splits games with Amery

Somerset's Megan Starry slides home for the first run in Monday's double-header with Prescott. Starry used her lead foot to knock the ball from the grasp of the Prescott pitcher on the play.

The Somerset girls knew they were on the clock when they started their second game against Prescott on Monday.

With half of the starting lineup scheduled to leave during the game to perform in a band concert, the Spartans tried to do as much damage as they could before they headed to their music obligations. The Spartans led when the starters left after the second inning. The lead held up until the final inning, when Prescott rallied to overtake the Spartans 7-6. Prescott had already won the opening game 5-2.

The Spartans started the second game with a sense of urgency, knowing their playing time was winding down. They scraped together six early runs. Sadie Gilbertson singled to score Megan Starry and Sami Martell. Maddie Berends then singled home Gilbertson.In the second inning Rachel Cloutier scored on Starry's single. Starry would score again on another hit by Gilbertson.

"They were crushing it, then they had to go to band," said Spartan coach Cory Lindenberg, who was unhappy that several top players had to leave during the middle of a game. "The offense really shut down after that."The Spartans did their best to hang onto the lead, but Prescott came back to score the game winner in the bottom of the fifth inning.In the opening game the Spartans also had a promising start, but a lack of offense prevented them from finishing off the win.

The Spartans got one run in the first inning. Starry scored on a wild pitch. She knocked the ball out of the glove of the Prescott pitcher with her lead foot as she slid into home plate.The Spartans added one more run in the fifth inning. Prescott put the game away with a homer over the outfield fence.The Somerset and Amery softball teams were both desperately in need of a win when they met last Tuesday in Amery. Both teams got what they needed splitting the double-header for their first Middle Border Conference wins of the 2013 season.

The Spartans put together back-to-back rallies to win the opening game 8-2. The Spartans scored three times in the third inning, with Megan Starry singling home two of the runs. The Spartans followed that with a five-run charge in the fourth inning. Anna Siggens lined a two-run single to centerfield to cap that rally.

This game featured some of Somerset's best offensive balance of the season. Sami Martell, Justice Rondeau, Maddie Berends and Sadie Gilbertson each got on base twice in the game, with Martell stealing a couple bases that spurred on the Spartan rallies.Rachel Cloutier pitched the complete game in the opener for the Spartans. She threw a four-hitter, striking out five Warriors.Berends got the pitching start for Somerset in the second game. Both pitchers threw well, with no scoring in the first three innings. The game hinged on Somerset's defense. The Spartans committed three errors in the fourth inning and Amery was able to convert that opportunity into four runs.

"We have a bad habit of letting things like that snowball on us," Lindenberg said.

Siggens and Martell had Somerset's only hits in the second game.On Friday the Spartans lost a pair of games to Osceola, but they were two vastly different performances. The Spartans gave up a 10-run inning in the first game, leading to a 14-1 loss.After that game, Lindenberg had some pointed words for his team.

"I told them they have to still have the mindset that they can't let the losses define who they are," he said.

The Spartans responded gamely to the reminder. They led for parts of the second game, came back late to tie the score, and nearly came back for the win, losing 7-6.Gilbertson provided a great start to the game. She ripped a liner to leftfield for an RBI double and she was able to circle the bases when the ball scooted past the Chieftain outfielder. Gilbertson had another RBI hit in the three-run second inning.Starry led the team's offense with three hits.

The Spartans' regular season was completed when they faced New Richmond on Tuesday. Somerset now quickly turns its attention to the WIAA playoffs. Somerset received the sixth seed in the Division 2 bracket, putting the Spartans in Ellsworth for the opening round of the WIAA regionals on Thursday.