Gophers have strong week as softball regular season winds down
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 2:53 AM
The Gopher softball team began the week on a roll, outscoring its first three opponents of the week 42-5. Then, in non-conference action, they were tested by both the Cannon Falls Bombers and Stewartville Tigers, falling to the latter. In all, the Gophers were 4-1 on the week, pushing their record to 9-4 as they approach postseason play.
Chatfield 15, R-P 1
In the front half of a doubleheader against the Trojans, Chatfield used a consistent offensive attack and stellar defense and pitching to earn the easy victory.
Jennifer Hanson started the game in the circle for the Gophers and pitched all five innings. She allowed a first inning run but was lights out from then on, facing the minimum amount of batters possible in the final four innings. She gave up three hits and walked one while striking out five.
The Gopher offense scored at least one run in every inning, capping off the game with an eight run fifth inning. Brook Irish drove in the first run of the game on a double in the first inning that scored Janessa Erding, who reached on a single.
Chatfield added three more runs in the second on a series of singles and walks then scored one more run in the third when a Megan LaPlante double pushed across Maddy Larrabee, who reached on a walk.
A pair of bases loaded walks by Sidney Irish and Brook Irish in the fourth pushed the Gopher lead to 7-1. Then, the Gophers broke the game wide open with eight runs in the fifth, highlighted by RBI doubles from Kirsten Keefe and Shelby Bernard.
The Gophers tallied 16 hits in all, with three a piece from Bernard and Sidney Irish. Bernard, along with LaPlante, also drove in a pair of runs in the win.
R-P 2, Chatfield 13
The Gophers completed the sweep of the Trojans on the day, defeating them again via the 10-run rule in the nightcap.
R-P again got a first inning run only to be stifled for the remainder of the game. Brook Irish was the starting pitcher for Chatfield in the second game of the nights. The junior pitcher gave up two runs, both unearned, on five hits and no walks while striking out five.
Offensively, Sidney Irish led off with a walk and came around to score on a wild pitch after advancing to third on a stolen base and a Shelby Bernard single. Bernard would follow Sidney Irish in crossing home plate soon after as a Brook Irish triple gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
Chatfield would extend its lead to six in the third inning as they scored five more runs, highlighted by a two-run home run from Brook Irish. The offense continued to roll, scoring three more in each the fourth and fifth innings.
Brook Irish and LaPlante accounted for seven of the ten runs driven in as they recorded four and three, respectively. Six different Gopher batters had two hits; among them was Sidney Irish, who scored a team-high three runs.
Chatfield 14, St. Charles 2
The Gophers continued their streak of 10-run rule victories to three in a rare Wednesday afternoon game in St. Charles.
The Gopher offense put up five first inning runs after the first two batters of the game were retired. Shelby Bernard hit a solo blast to center field to begin the scoring. That was followed by five consecutive hits, one of which was an RBI double by Sydney Gould that scored four more runs.
A series of singles and a Saint error led to the Gophers scoring five more runs in the second inning.
The offense stalled in the third and fourth innings, which wasn't a problem, thanks to a nine-run cushion and Hanson's second stellar start of the week. The senior pitched another complete game, allowing only two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four.
The Gopher lineup found its rhythm again in the fifth inning as it scored four more runs to put the game out of reach. After Sidney Irish doubled and Erding singled, Shelby Bernard drove them both home, recording her third hit and second and third runs batted in. She and Brook Irish, who followed her with a walk, would later score in the inning on a Gould single. Gould drove in a team-high four runs in all and also had three hits.
Chatfield 5, Cannon Falls 4
Chatfield used a late rally to get a come from behind win against the Cannon Falls Bombers in its opening game of a tournament held in Stewartville.
The Gopher offense struggled mightily to begin the game, striking out in eight of its first 10 at bats. Meanwhile, the Bombers took an early 3-0 lead with a run in the first inning and two more in the second.
Brook Irish ended the offensive drought by smashing a solo home run to center for the first hit of the game for the Gophers. That blast would stand as Chatfield's lone hit until the sixth inning.
The Bombers were unable to sustain their early success at the plate as they would only score one run after the second inning. That futility allowed the Gophers to get back into the game and take the lead with a four-run sixth inning. Hailee Stock began the inning with a leadoff double and later scored on a Shelby Bernard double after advancing to third on an Erding single. Both Erding and Shelby Bernard would cross home plate one batter later as Brook Irish drove them in with the Gophers third double of the inning. Brook Irish would go on to score the eventual game winning run on a Gould single.
Chatfield 1, Stewartville 3
The Gophers advanced in the tournament to take on the host Stewartville Tigers in what was a tightly contested game.
Sidney Irish led off the game with one of her three hits in the contest and was moved to second when Shelby Bernard singled two batters later. Though the Gophers looked to be poised to put some early runs on the board, the threat was ended when the next two batters were struck out.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two run home run. The Gophers tried to answer in the top half of the third, putting a runner on third with only one out. Again, however, the rally would fizzle as a pair of strikeouts ended the inning.
Chatfield was finally able to cut into the lead in the fifth inning when Erding, who reached on a single and advanced to third on a Shelby Bernard double, stole home. The inning would end, however, on a pickoff at third and another strikeout.
Stewartville would add a run in the bottom of the inning to extend its lead back to two. The Gophers were only able to get one hit in the final two innings, a double from Sidney Irish. Thus, the two run lead for the Tigers would stand as the final margin of victory.
The Gophers will look to close the regular season on a strong note as they will have five more games this week, beginning with a doubleheader in Rose Creek against the Southland Rebels. They will then play another Wednesday game at home against Lewiston-Altura, followed by another home game against Pine Island on Thursday. Finally, Chatfield will host the Fillmore Central Falcons for a doubleheader on Friday.
TRC South Softball (May 14)
Spring Grove/Caledonia 7-1 (11-1 season)
Chatfield 5-1 (9-4 season)
Fillmore Central/Lanesboro 6-2 (10-2 season)
GM/L-O/K 4-6 (6-12 season)
Rushford-Peterson 2-6 (3-11 season)
Southland 0-8 (1-15 season)