May 21, 2004 at 11:11 a.m.
Chisago Lakes 0
Every year, it’s the main event. Every year, the Wildcats can’t wait to play in it.
Last Saturday, the Eastview Tournament kicked off, showcasing some of the top teams in the state. Roseville, Anoka, and Lakeville were among the top three teams playing. It just so happens that Lakeville was also the ‘Cast first round opponent.
Rated anywhere between second and eighth in the state all year, the Panthers roared to an early start, catching the Wildcats off balance with their size and speed. Lakeville opened up the scoring with three runs in the first off Chisago Lakes starter Whitney Slagerman. The Panthers then added two more in the fourth and seventh, finishing off a 7-0 win.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled at the plate, mustering only one hit. Tara Walbridge reached base in the seventh on a single. The seventh was also the only inning where the Wildcats threatened, loading the bases with two outs before Lakeville got out of the jam unharmed.
“We just couldn’t cover their bunts,” said Steve Fisher, Chisago Lakes head softball coach. “They were so fast. By the time we got the ball, they were already at the base. It also forced some errors on our part, we had a lot of trouble in the field.”
Slagerman took the loss on the mound despite working the entire seven innings. Slagerman allowed eight hits while walking three. One of those hits was a home run.
“They were clearly better than we were. They had a couple of girls who were 6’2” and they could run like the wind,” mentioned Fisher. “It was probably a little bit of an eye opener. I don’t think any of our young kids have seen that before. I thought going in that we were going to be 10-runned, but we played the entire seven innings. I was happy with that. We competed with them.”
The loss dropped the ‘Cats overall record to 8-7 on the season.
Chisago Lakes 1
Robb. Armstrong 0
While the bats were just as quiet in game two, Slagerman saved her best effort of the day for game two, shutting down Robbinsdale Armstrong, paving the way for a 1-0 win.
The only run of the game was scored in the sixth. Batting with two outs, Morgan Baumgard walked followed by back-to-back singles by Ariel Novak and Rachel Nelson. Nelson’s hit drove in Baumgard for the first, and only run of the game. Even though the ‘Cats finished with four hits in the game, it was enough.
“It was a great win for us. Just to show that we can go down there and get a win. It was big because it kept us from that loser-loser game (in round three),” remarked Fisher. “Brittany pitched fairly well in both games. I think it was just a matter of Lakeville seeing that type of pitching everyday, I don’t think Armstrong sees that type of pitching all the time. She kept us in the game. They had some opportunities but we came up with the big plays to get out of jams.”
Slagerman improved to 7-3 on the season, pitching seven innings of three-hit ball. She also struck out four. On offense, Andrea Nelson finished the game with two hits while Novak and Rachel Nelson had the other two for the ‘Cats.
Fifth Place Game-
Park (Cottage Grove) 8
Chisago Lakes 1
The win over Robbinsdale Armstrong matched the Wildcats up with Park of Cottage Grove in the fifth place game. Unfortunately, the game looked more like their loss to Lakeville than their win over Armstrong.
Park scored early and often, striking for one run in the first, five in the second, one in the third, and one in the fourth, exploding to a 8-1 win.
The Wildcats only run of the game came in the fifth on a Katie Reed RBI single. Along with being the ‘Cats first and only run, it was also their first and only hit.”
“We’re just not capable of coming back to that extent. Two or three runs maybe, but seven of eight isn’t realistic for us,” said Fisher. “They stung the ball. They bunted the ball a little bit, and they pretty much hit it everywhere and anywhere they wanted to.”
Slagerman once again started the game, going the first three innings to pick up the loss. Sarah Ploog pitched the rest of the way, allowing one run. The loss dropped the Wildcats record to 9-8 overall with three games remaining before the section tournament begins.
“Sarah came in and did a nice job for us,” remarked Fisher. “I think it was a good lesson for us. I think it was good for us to see those types of teams. A lot of those teams we played are ones from our section. It’s good for the girls to see that type of competition, to understand that we have to play teams of different caliber in our section. To be competitive is a plus, and for the most part, I think we were competitive.”
The Wildcats finish the regular season this week with road match-ups against Mora and Milaca before coming home to face North Branch on Thursday.