By Brady Ambrose
With the 2013 season seemingly changing by the hour, the Spring Grove/Caledonia softball team is taking advantage of any chance they can to get on the field, winning three games last week. Coach Shelly Anderson’s team was scheduled to play eight games in five days, but again the weather dictated the schedule as five of the eight games were cancelled.
On April 29 the Lions (5-3) traveled to Spring Grove to play a double-header with GMLOK and the next day the team traveled to La Crescent. Against GMLOK the Lions, behind a no-hitter from ace Sam Bratland in game one and a strong effort from Sophie Augedahl in game two resulted in a pair of lopsided wins as the Lions swept GMLOK 9-0 and 12-2.. Bratland was un-hittable in the opener, throwing just 78 pitches – 60 of them for strikes while striking out 12 hitters. The Lions got on the board in the first inning with a run and scored one more in the second for a 2-0 lead. In the top of the third, four base hits by Lauren Rusert, Emily Ranzenberger, Cara Stemper and Bratland and an error by GMLOK led to a four run inning that put the Lions up 6-0.
In the meanwhile Bratland was cruising on the mound, retiring 12 of the first 13 batters she faced with Hannah Corson reaching on an error in the bottom of the second inning. Bratland retired the side in order in the first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings before giving up a walk in the bottom of the seventh to Kailynn Hamersma and a fielder’s choice grounder to Brittany Erding, but Bratland then struck out Rialie Fenske and got pinch-hitter Katie Apenhorst to ground out to end the game. Anderson said “She had great control of her pitches as well as very good movement. She struck out 12 with only 2 walks and we were also really hitting the ball hard in that game and our speed on the bases was definitely a factor in all our scores.”
In the second game the Lions started a pair of freshmen as Sophia Augedahl took the mound and Jordan Anderson was behind the plate. All Augedahl did was throw a five hitter while giving up just two runs through six innings as the Lions cruised to a 12-2 win in six innings. “We started 2 freshmen to give a little rest to Bratland and Lottie Augedahl since our week was supposed to have 8 games in five days,” Anderson said. The Lions led 3-0 before GMLOK got on the board in the bottom of the third, but Spring Grove/Caledonia answered with a six run barrage in the top of the fourth to go up 9-0. Augedahl doubled in the fourth scoring three runs as the Lions put the first five batters of the inning on base before recording their first out. A single from Angie Augedahl scored Lauren Rusert, who had doubled with two outs to give the Lions a nine run lead. “The freshmen battery did a great job both defensively and offensively,” Anderson said. “Sophia had a huge double to knock in 3 runs in the 4th and Jordan had a base hit up the middle to drive in our 12th run to end the game in the 6th inning due to the 10-run rule.”
The next day The Lions traveled to La Crescent with Bratland again taking the mound and came back to Caledonia with a 10-1 win. La Crescent pushed a run across in the bottom of the sixth inning but the run made little difference as the Lions already led 7-0. Bratland’s two-run home run over the fence in dead center field in the top of the third was the exclamation mark of the win. Anderson said “Taylor Augedahl and Lauren Rusert each went 3-4. Lauren had a single, double and a triple and Taylor had 2 RBI’s. Angie Augedahl had 3 RBI’s also. Samantha Bratland had very good control of her pitches again this game and did a great job keeping their hitters off balance.” Bratland gave up just two hits, a single to Amber Pfiffner in the fourth and a single to Nicole Breyer in the fifth while striking out eight and not walking a batter in the win.
Up next for the Lions will be a trip to P-E-M on Wednesday, May 8, followed by a double-header May 10 at Rushford-Peterson and another double-header Saturday at home against Chatfield starting at 10 a.m.