April 29, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.
Chisago Lakes splits a pair of North Suburban contests
Rachel Nelson struck out nine and allowed just three hits to lead the Wildcats to a 4-1 win at home against St. Louis Park last Tuesday, April 20. The Wildcats took advantage of some Oriole miscues to score their four runs. Nelson pitched a complete game, allowing just one unearned run and walking none.
Mackenzie Turk led off the bottom of the second with a single. She stole second, moved to third on a single by Danielle Tossey and scored on a wild pitch. The Orioles tied it up in the top of the third, but the Wildcats got that run right back in the bottom of the inning. Nicole Zacher led off with a single and stole second. Two outs later, she scored on a single by Nelson.
The Wildcats added a little breathing room in the fourth. Tossey bunted with one out and ended up going all the way to second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Mallory Schneider followed with a bunt back to the pitcher, and another throwing error allowed Tossey to score and Schneider to reach second. One out later, Zacher singled to score Schneider, and the Wildcats led 4-1. With Nelson in command on the mound, that was all the Wildcats needed to put away the Orioles.
"For the most part, we had no patience at the plate today," said Wildcat co-head coach Herb Jangor. "Mackenzie Turk did show some good plate discipline. And Rachel had a dominant performance on the mound. Sometimes when you're in a batting slump as a team, like we are, even a pitcher that doesn't throw very hard can give you trouble. When we started to put the ball in play in the fourth, the Orioles had trouble fielding it and got a little rattled."
Jangor continued, "Between innings late in the game, the umpire came over to me and told me what a nice group of young ladies we had. As a coach, that makes you even more proud of your team. And that's part of the reason good programs win. They play the game the right way and act the right way."
Benilde-St. Margaret's 5, Chisago Lakes 4
The Wildcats came back from a 4-0 deficit to tie it up in the sixth inning, but Benilde scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Wildcats 5-4 last Thursday, April 22 in St. Louis Park.
The Red Knights took advantage of three Wildcat errors to put a run on the board in the first inning. Three more flubs by the Wildcat allowed Benilde to add two more runs in the third. The Red Knights added an earned run in the fourth to take a four-run lead.
The Wildcats started their comeback in the top of the fifth. Nicole Zacher and Shannon Monson walked with one out, Amanda Houle singled. Rachel Nelson walked to drive in one run, and Monson scored on Kasey Eichten's groundout to cut the Benilde lead to 4-2. The Wildcats took advantage of Benilde's wildness again in the fifth. Danielle Tossey and Mallory Schneider walked to lead off the inning. After the runners each moved up a base, Kayla Checkalski singled to left center to drive in both runners and tie the game at 4-4.
The Wildcats had a good chance to take the lead in the top of the seventh. Eichten singled with one out. With two outs, Tossey singled to put runners on first and second. Schneider singled to right, but she hit the ball so hard that Eichten didn't have a chance to score from second and the bases were loaded. Checkalski flew out to end the Wildcat threat with the score still tied. In the bottom of the seventh, a double, a ground ball and another Wildcat error allowed the Red Knights to score yet another unearned run and sent the Wildcats down to defeat 5-4.
Jangor said "At the beginning of the season, we said that our keys to success were good pitching and good defense. Tonight, our pitching was very good but our defense wasn't. Kasey pitched well and deserved to win, but we just couldn't catch the ball. And we only managed five hits. You know the difference between a good season and a great season may come down to how well you handle adversity. We're only a few games into the season and we're not doing some things very well. But I think the positive attitude of our senior leaders will help us to get out of this slump and turn things around. Last Friday, we didn't have practice but four of the seniors came down to take some batting practice anyway. That's the type of thinking and dedication we need."
The Wildcats will play three games in a tournament at Becker this Saturday, with the festivities getting under way at 10 a.m. Next Monday, May 3, they'll host a doubleheader against archrival North Branch starting at 4 p.m. And on Wednesday, they will head to Columbia Heights to take on the Hylanders starting at 4:30 p.m.
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