On Monday, the top-ranked Randolph softball team proved there was no confidence lost from the weekend. After traveling to Coon Rapids and coming up short, the Rockets shut out South St. Paul at home thanks to a few home runs and Morgyn Otte’s pitching.
Before the game, the team talked about the importance of beating South St. Paul -- a Class AAA team.
“Our pregame pep talk was about QRF and how we are ranked second in QRF,” said Randolph catcher Megan Erickson. “(The challenge) still doesn't phase us because of the difference between our conference and the bigger schools (we've played this year).”
Erickson made sure the Rockets, a Class A team, wouldn’t lose to another school bigger than Randolph. Her grand slam in the fifth inning highlighted a day in which the offense came in bunches. Andrea Splichal also hit a home run for the Rockets. While Splichal hit one in a preseason game, her solo shot to right center field was her first of the season and bragging rights for the rest of the year.
“(Splichal) said 'I'm going to get one this season because everyone doesn't think that one counts,'” Erickson said.
Otte kept South St. Paul of balance by mixing speeds and got the hitters to swing under the ball all game. Knowing the importance of the remaining schedule, Otte said the team is feeling good after an all-around solid performance.
Through the first three innings, neither team had much going their way offensively. Otte was perfect through three and the Rockets had two hits, but no runs.
“Usually our first round of at-bats are rocky or rough,” Otte said. “Once we get that second round of at-bats, it's usually (better).”
The second time through the order, Splichal’s home run in the fourth got the Rockets on the board. In the fifth, Packers starter Myia Sarff was relieved by Rylee Casalenda after Sarff walked the first two batters to start the inning. Casalenda got Kenna Otte to pop out, but walked Morgyn Otte to load the bases for Erickson.
Erickson, who came to the plate 0-for-2, knew she had to change her approach.
“The first two at-bats I swung at the first pitch and it didn't work,” Erickson said. “So I was going to wait until I see a pitch I like, and I saw that pitch coming.”
Having seen Casalenda throwing before the game, Erickson looked for a ball over the heart of the plate she could drive. She got her pitch and cleared the bases with a no-doubt grand slam to left field.
“(Erickson) has been hitting the ball well this year,” said Randolph head coach Dennis Trom. “When she hits home runs, they are usually no doubters.”
The Packers went 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth, and the Rockets added two more runs on an error and a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Grant.
Otte came out to finish off a her 7-0 shutout in the seventh. Trom said it was the kind of game Randolph has been accustomed to winning this season.
“We are into our positions now and everyone knows their role,” Trom said. “I think now it's just a matter of being a little more aggressive and going after stuff. I think in Coon Rapids we sat back too much. I hope they got the message, because they did a better job tonight.”
Zumbrota-Mazeppa 3, Byron 1
After Byron scored a run in the top of the first on a solo home run, Zumbrota-Mazeppa scored two in the bottom to take a lead 2-1. With Avery Steffen in the circle, the one-run lead stood until the Cougars added an insurance run in the fourth.
Steffen struck out six batters and allowed a run on five hits and two walks. At the plate, Steffen went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Matti Stensland and Makayla Arendt each hit a double and drove in a run.
Goodhue 4, Lake City 3 (8 innings)
Goodhue held a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but Lake City answered in the fourth. The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. The Wildcats scored two runs in the top of the sixth, and the Tigers responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game 3-3.
The Wildcats went ahead 4-3 in the next half inning and held on to win in extras.
Hailey Hurlbut had two hits and scored twice for the Wildcats. Hannah Gaident had two hits, including a triple, and drove in a run. Kate Opsahl went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Emily Doerhoefer had three hits. Torrie Rehder got the win in the circle, striking out seven batters while allowing two earned runs on seven hits and four walks in eight innings
Nora Baer had three hits and Ashley Thieren had two hits for the Tigers. Thieren took the loss, pitching all eight innings and striking out two while allowing two earned runs on 11 hits and no walks.
Kasson-Mantorville 1, Cannon Falls 0
Cannon Falls had a chance to score in the fifth, but Kasson-Mantorville came up with a good defensive play keep the game tied 0-0. Rachel Huseth was cut down at home plate attempting to score on a ground ball to the pitcher.
Riding some momentum off the defensive play in the top of the fifth, K-M got a run in the bottom half on a two-out RBI-double.
The Bombers had another chance to score in the seventh with runners on second and third, but were unable to push across a run.
Huseth had the only two hits of the game for the Bombers. Kayley Frenette took the loss, allowing a run on six hits and one walk while striking out three batters.
The Lake City softball team had everyone swinging the bats well as it beat Fillmore Central 14-3 (five inning) and Faribault 14-1 (five innings) on Saturday.
The Tigers scored in all but one inning against Fillmore Central. Olivia Bailey led the offense, going 4-for-4 with four RBI. Deonna Jostock drove in three runs and Olivia Morrisey went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two stolen bases.
The Tigers jumped all over Faribault pitching, scoring 12 runs in the first three innings. The Tigers held a commanding 12-1 lead going into the fourth and added two more runs en route to a five-inning victory. Bailey, Allison Hanson and Elyse Dalager each drove in two runs for the Tigers. Tiger Ashley Thieren allowed a run on five hits and a walk.
Lake City improved to 6-8 overall.
Cannon Falls splits games at PEM Invite
In the first game against Dover-Eyota, Cannon Falls earned a 2-1 win.
The Bombers got the scoring started in the top of the first inning. Abby Breuer drove in both of the Bomber runs. Dover-Eyota cut the Bomber lead in half with a run in the bottom of the first. It was all the runs either team would score as Breuer held Dover-Eyota to a run on three hits and five walks while striking out 12 batters.
After defeating Dover-Eyota, the Bombers played the host team, Plainview-Elgin-Millville and lost 18-1 in four innings.
PEM scored two runs in the first inning, but the Bombers answered with a run in the second. PEM ran away with the game in the third, scoring 12 runs - eight of them coming with two outs. The Bombers trailed 14-1 after three innings and couldn't regain any momentum.
Cannon Falls moved to 7-6 overall.
Coon Rapids 7, Randolph 1
Randolph fell behind in the second inning and couldn't come back. Coon Rapids score five runs in the second inning on three base hits, including a home run, and a couple of run-scoring ground outs.
Andrea Splichal got the Rockets on the board with an RBI-single in the top of the fourth. The run was all the Rockets could muster against Cardinals pitcher Sam Lom.
Rocket Morgyn Otte struck out four batters in the loss.
Randolph fell to 14-2 overall.