CANNON FALLS -- Prior to the season, first-year coach Anthony Flemmons was concerned that his team would have trouble finding an identity.
After an 11-inning marathon victory to open the season Monday, the Bombers took a step in the right direction.
"Our whole team has just meshed very well unlike a lot of girls sports where it's just drama," Cannon Falls catcher Kalyn Reinardy said.
The Bombers had an extra week to prepare for their season-opener -- which they won 4-3 over Pine Island -- as weather postponed their game scheduled for April 6. That gave the Bombers more time to grow a custom to Flemmons and his style of coaching.
"He's been doing a really good job," Reinardy said. "He can be strict but we need it."
Center fielder Jenna Gemse stated that Flemmons has had a huge impact on her situational hitting and the team's base running.
"He's part of the team," Gemse said. "He's awesome."
Flemmons got the whole team involved in Monday's victory.
"We got all the girls in and it took all the girls to win, to me that's a team effort and that sends volumes of messages to these players," Flemmons said.
Reinardy played a huge role in Cannon Falls' offense. She roped in single in the fourth and later scored on an Amanda Woodward safety squeeze; she tied the game with a two-run double in the fifth. Reinardy drew a walk in the 11th then stole second and third base before scoring the winning run on a Kaci Vandenheuvel lined shot to center field.
"She's a spark plug," Flemmons said. "She plays with a lot of energy."
Megan Ripley pitched all 11 innings and, according to Reinardy, got better as the game went on. She pitched her way out of a two-on, no-out jam in the ninth.
"Getting out of an inning like that is a huge lift going into the next inning offensively and I think that was the turning point for us," Flemmons said.
Another key was the Bombers' ability to stay focused and intense during the extra innings.
"We've been working so hard on keeping up the tempo, making sure we are staying positive because the game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent actually playing," Gemse said. "We've got to keep talking and got to keep encouraging."
The Bombers host Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Thursday.