April 16, 2009 at 8:24 a.m.
The Wildcat softball team scored six runs in the fourth inning to break open a close game on their way to an 8-0 shutout win in the season opener at Robbinsdale Cooper last Tuesday, April 7 at Chisago Lakes.
Mallory Schneider drove in Danielle Tossey with a two-run double in the second to get the Wildcats on the board. In the fourth, Lisa Schommer led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. Ashley Oehme reached on a one-out error and stole second. Tossey drove in both runners with a two run single and scored when Schneider reached on an error. Schneider scored on Tia Pearl's double to make it 5-0. Shannon Monson reached on a fielder's choice and stole second. Pearl scored when Amanda Houle reached on an error, and Monson scored on Rachel Nelson's groundout to make it 7-0. Schommer added a run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth to make the final score Chisago Lakes 8, Cooper 0.
Nelson struck out seven, walked none and gave up just two hits to record her first win of the season. Schommer and Tossey had two hits apiece for the Wildcats.
"It was nice to get key hits from Tossey and Pearl in the big inning," said Wildcat head coach Herb Jangor. "Schommer hit the ball well today, too. The team had a good first outing. Nelson didn't have her best stuff the first game out, but still managed to pitch a pretty good game."
Chisago Lakes 7, Fridley 0
Danielle Tossey led off the top of the second inning with her first career home run at Fridley last Thursday, April 9. All the Wildcat bats came alive as they pounded out 16 hits on their way to a 7-0 victory. Rachel Nelson and Kasey Eichten combined for 11 strikeouts and just two hits in the shutout win.
After Tossey's homer in the second, Tracy Schneider and Shannon Monson both singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Amanda Houle drove in Schneider with a single and Nelson singled in two runs to stretch the Wildcat lead to 4-0. In the third, the Wildcats scored one run on an error before Houle singled in Pearl to make the score 6-0. Singles by Pearl, Kasey Eichten and Schommer accounted for the final Wildcat run in the top of the seventh to make the final score Chisago Lakes 7, Fridley 0.
Eichten struck out five of the six batters she faced and allowed no hits. Jangor was pleased with both of his pitchers. He said "Nelson looked to have a lot better command of her pitchers and Eichten looked good in relief. We got a lot of hits, pitched well and committed no errors. Tossey continued to hit the ball well, going two for three with her first career home run. Schommer is still hitting well, Amanda Houle got it going and Schneider has hit the ball well the first two games. We left 13 runners on base, though. Some games you don't get key hits. We need to take more pride about getting runners in from second. Our schedule is going to get a lot tougher from here on out."
Schommer had three hits and four Wildcats had two hits each -Houle, Tossey, Schneider and Pearl. Eichten struck out five of the six batters she faced.
Chisago Lakes 4, Hermantown 3
The Wildcat schedule got tougher right away as they faced Hermantown, a state tournament team from last year. The Wildcats battled back from a 3-0 deficit for a thrilling 4-3 win over the Hawks last Saturday, April 11 at Chisago Lakes.
Poor defense by the Wildcats led to two of the three runs the Hawks scored in the first three innings. The Wildcats got one run back in the bottom of the third as Amanda Houle tripled with two outs and Rachel Nelson drove her in with a single. In the fourth, Ashley Oehme led off with a single. Danielle Tossey sacrificed Oehme to second, and Oehme scored on Mallory Schneider's double to pull the Wildcats within one run. In the fifth, Lisa Schommer was hit by a pitch with one out. Mackenzie Turk reached on an error and one batter later Tossey's two-out double scored Schommer to tie the game at 3-3.
The score was still tied 3-3 as Nelson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. She promptly singled and was replaced by courtesy runner Jen Voigt. Schommer reached on an error by the second baseman and Turk sacrificed the runners to second and third. Oehme struck out, but reached base when the catcher let the ball get away. Tossey struck out, and Schneider came to the plate with a chance to drive in the winning run. Schneider had a great at bat, fouling off several pitches as the count got to 3-2. She took ball four to drive in Voigt from third to give the Wildcats a 4-3 win.
Nelson wasn't rattled by the lack of early defensive support. She retired 15 of the final 16 Hawk batters she faced, with the only baserunner reaching on an error. Nelson kept the Wildcats in the game and gave them a chance to win.
"Hermantown is one of the better programs in the state," said Wildcat head coach Herb Jangor. "They hammered us last year and then came out and got ahead of us 3-0 in this one. You can't make three errors and that many mental mistakes against a good team. It's good to see what kids were made of. There was no quit in them. We got several key hits as we came back against one of the top pitchers in the state. Mallory coaxing the game-winning walk against that pitcher was impressive. And Schommer and Nelson got the bat on the ball that inning. As I've said many times, getting the bat on the ball gives you a chance for success."
Virginia 3, Chisago Lakes 2
After battling back against Hermantown, the Wildcats once again fell behind against Virginia through a series of defensive lapses. But this time the bats stayed nearly silent as they lost 3-2 to the Blue Devils in their second game of the day last Saturday, April 11 at Chisago Lakes.
The Wildcats got on the board first as Amanda Houle led off the bottom of the first with a single, stole second and scored on Lisa Schommer's single. The Blue Devils tied it up in the top of the third on an error, two walks and a groundout and took the lead in the fourth on a single, an error and two passed balls. The Wildcats tied it up in the bottom of the fourth. Mackenzie Turk walked with one out and was replaced on the basepaths by courtesy runner Taylor Russell. Ashley Oehme doubled to drive in Russell to make the score 2-2. But another Wildcat fielding gaffe led to the Virginia's go-ahead run in the sixth inning, and this time the Wildcats didn't have an answer as they lost 3-2.
Pitcher Kasey Eichten made her first career start in this game, and was relieved by Rachel Nelson with the score tied 1-1 in the second inning. Eichten allowed just one hit but walked three. In 23 2/3 innings this season, Nelson has struck out 23, allowed just 11 hits and walked none.
"I started Kasey against Virginia because I wanted to see how she'd do," said Wildcat head coach Herb Jangor. "As a sophomore, she's already a better second line pitcher than what most teams have for a first line pitcher. She was pitching well enough for us to win. We never got into this game mentally after the big win against Hermantown. And we're going to need to straighten out our defense if we expect to be a good team. We have a long way to go, but we have a lot of potential. As coaches, we're happy to be 3-1, but we're not satisfied with it. And the girls have the same mindset."
Jangor continued "I really like having Shannon Monson in centerfield. She can really cover a lot of ground for us. I'm lucky to work with such a fine group of young ladies. That's what makes it fun."
The Wildcats (3-1 overall, 2-0 conference) will be tested against some of the top teams in the conference this week. They were scheduled to play at St. Louis Park Tuesday, April 14. They'll host Benilde-St. Margaret's in a doubleheader today starting at 3 p.m. at Chisago Lakes High School. Next Tuesday, April 21 they'll play at Irondale at 4:15 p.m.