St. Croix Central's hopes for a softball win are shut out at Glenwood City
The St. Croix Central softball team was hoping Monday would be the day the Panthers earned their first victory of the season.
The Panthers lost to Glenwood City 11-10 when they met earlier this season in the first round of Dunn-St. Croix Conference play. Glenwood City took charge of the game by scoring five times in the second inning on four walks and two hits.
Central outhit the Toppers, 9-7. Central’s Ana Erickson had four hits in the game, but the Panthers could never get her past second base. Megan Edelman also had a strong night at the plate, singling twice and putting down a successful sacrifice bunt in her other plate appearance.
With the team struggling at the midpoint of the season, the Panthers reset their goals last week. One of their new goals is to perform better in the second round of conference games than they had in the opening half of the season.
The Panthers achieved that last Thursday when they hosted conference co-leader Pepin-Alma. When they met in the first half of the season, Pepin-Alma soundly defeated the Panthers 17-1. When they met last Thursday at the St. Croix Central Middle School field, the Panthers only trailed Pepin-Alma 3-1 after four innings. Pepin-Alma scored eight times in the next two innings to win 11-1.
“The end score doesn’t show how well we played,” Rudiger said.
Central pitcher Abby Harrington was a big reason why the Panthers were in this game so late. Harrington gave up three runs in the first inning, before keeping P-A off the scoreboard for the next three innings.
Rudiger said Marissa Arthur’s work behind the plate was also greatly improved in this game. She said with the lower number of wild pitches and passed balls, opponents weren’t able to work around into scoring position so easily.
The Panthers could only stay in contention for so long, because they could only manage one hit in the game. Ana Erickson had that hit, in the first inning. She came around to score on a passed ball.
The Panthers ran up against the other conference co-leader last Friday, Elk Mound. This didn’t go as well as Thursday, with the Mounders rolling past the Panthers, 18-4.
This was another game that got away from the Panthers. The Panthers trailed 6-3 after four innings.
There were stretches in this game where the Panthers hit the ball with authority. The Panthers scored three runs in the fourth inning. Angel Vermeersch started the rally with a single. Arthur followed with a double. Katie Kolakowski then delivered a two-run double. The third run came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nicole Nogal.
The final Central run came in the sixth inning. Abby Olsen led off with a walk, scoring on a single from Jami Ruvelson.
The next game for the Panthers is a non-conference game against Somerset, in Hammond on Friday. This game is important for seeding reasons. Because Somerset has already beaten Amery, if the Panthers win Friday, there would be at least two teams below them in the regional tournament seeding.
The Panthers are also in action on Saturday, playing two games in a tournament in Clayton. The Panthers return to conference action next Monday, hosting Colfax in a double-header. The Panthers also play next Tuesday, hosting Mondovi.