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Somerset softball produces in clutch situations

Somerset’s Ally Wittstock puts down a successful sacrifice bunt during the Spartans’ loss to Ellsworth last Tuesday.

After waiting all season for clutch hits, the Spartans produced in clutch situations time after time in their 15-1 win at St. Croix Central last Friday.

The game started with the Spartans scoring three runs in the first inning, all with two outs. It was a pattern they’d continue throughout the game. Singles by Rachel Cloutier and Meghan Wolner drove in runs during that burst.

The Spartans broke the game open with an eight-run charge in the second inning, their largest run total of the season. Jocelyn Rivard, Wolner, Autumn Wilson and Ally Wittstock all singled in runs during the inning, with Wolner’s hit sending home two runs and Wilson’s hit chasing home three runs. The Spartans added two more runs in the third inning and three in the fifth inning.

“We had five hits with two outs and runners in scoring position,” Spartan coach Cory Lindenberg said. “They did a good job of never letting up on the gas pedal.”

Megan Starry led the Spartan attack with three hits. She and Cloutier each scored three runs. Cloutier was also dominating as the Spartan pitcher, holding Central to three hits.

This win was vitally important for the Spartans’ chances in the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament seeding that is scheduled for completion this Wednesday. The Spartans now have wins over Central and Amery, meaning Somerset will likely get the fifth seed in the seven-team bracket. That would likely put them against Ellsworth in the opening round of the WIAA regionals that start on Thursday, May 22.

The Spartans know they can play on even ground with Ellsworth. They did so last Tuesday, losing 6-2 to the Panthers.

Somerset led the game after three innings. The Spartans had chances to produce more runs, putting runners in scoring position with less than two outs in every inning except the seventh.

The first Somerset run was scored in the first inning. Starry walked, moved to second on Wittstock’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Racheal Russell’s groundout.

The Spartans scored again in the third inning. This time Starry started the inning with a double. A bunt moved her to third base and she scored on Jocelyn Rivard’s sacrifice fly.

There was plenty of reason for optimism after this game. The Spartans had 10 hits, including two each from Starry, Wittstock and Abbie Rivard.

Somerset’s home game with Durand on Monday was postponed due to wet grounds. A makeup date hasn’t been set.

The Spartans are scheduled to play Middle Border Conference leader Baldwin-Woodville twice this Thursday. The two five-inning games will be played at Somerset’s Larry Forrest Park, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Another double-header is scheduled for the Spartans next Monday, this time at New Richmond, making up the games that were rained out last Thursday.

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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