The anxiety of three straight conference losses was starting to eat at the psyches of the Somerset softball team.
All that anxiety seemed to disappear after the Spartans scored five runs in the first inning against Amery last Thursday. The Spartans played with renewed vigor, scoring in every inning in a 14-4 win over the Warriors.
The win leaves the Spartans with a 2-3 record in the Middle Border Conference. They started this week in fifth place in the MBC standings.
Spartan coach Cory Lindenberg said the two previous losses, to New Richmond and Ellsworth, were particularly agonizing for the Spartans. After Amery scored once in the top of the first inning, he was concerned about how the Spartans would react.
"It showed a great deal of mental fortitude," Lindenberg said about the Spartans' five-run first inning.
Senior Ashley Martell led off the first inning with a bunt single. After a walk, Carley Seibel singled home Martell. Amery issued another walk, then Krista Berger lashed a two-run double. Sammi Martell was next and she brought home two more runs with a single.
In the second inning the Spartans used doubles by Ashley Martell and Sadie Gilbertson to produce a run. In the third inning Shelby Peterson walked, stole second and came around on Sammi Martell's single.
Two runs were scored in the fourth. Seibel singled and Jackie Briggs walked. They both scored on wild pitches. In the fifth the Spartans scored four more times. Ashley Martell and Gilbertson had RBI-singles and Peterson brought home the final two runs with another single.
The Spartans got the final run needed for the 10-run rule to take effect with their first two batters of the sixth inning. Ashley Martell led off with a single, her fourth hit of the game. Gilbertson then socked a towering triple to the base of the fence in leftfield.
Lindenberg said the Spartans were hurt by one bad inning in their previous losses. He said Amery had the start of an inning like that, but the Spartans pulled together and let the Warriors get only two runs out of that possible big inning.
Junior pitcher Bethany Starry seemed more relaxed in this game too. She struck out eight and walked one.
Lindenberg said the Spartans made the needed defensive plays in the game, especially in the outfield. He credited Berger and Sammi Martell with making key catches during the win.
The schedule kicks into overdrive for the Spartans this week. They play at home on Thursday against Durand, then they play at Osceola on Friday. On Monday the Spartans are at home against Prescott, followed by a game at Ellsworth next Tuesday.