By Brady Ambrose
Six games, four days and maybe some of the harshest conditions ever played in best describes the schedule that the Spring Grove/Caledonia softball team faced last week as the season quickly rolls on for coach Shelly Anderson and the Lions.
Playing games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, SG/C played .500 ball and improved their overall record to 8-6 with only four games left on the regular season schedule.
The Lions ended the week hosting Chatfield in a double-header Saturday morning at Caledonia High School. With a wind advisory posted for the area, the teams struggled all day when wind gusts made the conditions nearly impossible to catch any ball that was in the air.
When it was over, the teams had split with the Gophers winning the first game 1-0 and the Lions taking game two 17-7. Anderson said, “The wind was the worst I have ever been in throughout all my 23 years of coaching. I know I never played in anything like that in my career. I’m really proud of all the players for not complaining and just playing the best they could under the conditions.”
In the first game Chatfield’s Sidney Irish led off the game with a bunt single, advanced on a sacrifice by McKenzie Miller and a wild pitch from SG/Caledonia’s Samantha Bratland.
Irish then scored the only run of the game on a ground ball out by Kirsten Keefe.
The Lions had their chances, loading the bases in the bottom of the third inning with just one out, but Bratland popped up to second and Chatfield’s Brooke Irish struck out Lauren Rusert to end the Lion threat.
SG/C had another chance slip away in the bottom of the fourth when Taylor Augedahl singled to lead off the inning and stole second. Alexy Bearbower was then hit by a pitch and Augedahl moved to third on Sophie Augedahl’s ground out. But Maria Doering then popped up to short to end the inning, and the Gophers held on the rest of the way for the 1-0 win. The Lions then bounced back in the second game and rolled to a 10 run, 17-7 win.
The Lions put together two big innings when they scored five runs in the second and eight more in the seventh on just three hits. Chatfield’s Jennifer Hanson threw 215 pitches and faced 51 batters in seven innings of work. SG/C took advantage of three wild pitches, three hit batters, including two in the seventh inning, and 14 walks to get the win.
Lottie Augedahl led off the seventh with a walk and moved to third on consecutive ground outs by Bratland and Rusert. With two outs Taylor Augedahl reached on an error and Bearbower singled. Angie and Sophia Augedahl both drew walks, Doering was hit by a pitch and Cara Stemper walked. Lottie Augedahl singled, Bratland was hit by a pitch and Rusert singled scoring Lottie Augedahl and Stemper for a 17-7 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
Bratland then gave up a one out double to Shelby Bernard but struck out Brook Irish and Maddy Larrabee to end the game.
“The big issue for both teams was the intense strong wind throughout both games,” Anderson said.
Friday the Lions split a double-header at Rushford-Peterson, winning the first game 5-3 and losing game two 9-1. Bratland’s three-run home run in the third inning gave SG/C a 5-1 lead, and the Lions held on for the 5-3 win after R-P scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 5-3.
Game two was all R-P after the Vikings tagged Sophie Augedahl for six runs in the second inning and cruised to the 9-1 win. Lottie, Angie and Sophie Augedahl accounted for all three of the Lions hits – each one singled once off R-P’s Kendra Crawford.
On May 8 the Lions beat P-E-M 14-1 in five innings, scoring 12 times in the first two innings and Bratland fired a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts to get the win. Maria Doering was 3×3 at the plate with a walk, and Lauren Rusert was 3×4 at the plate with a triple.
The team started the week May 7 with a tough, 2-1 loss in eight innings at Houston to the Hurricanes. The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third after Doering was hit by a pitch and later scored on Bratland’s base hit. But the Hurricanes tied the game in the sixth when Vanessa Lee walked and scored on Alexa Horihan’s double.
Houston won the game in the bottom of the eighth on Kasey Jumbeck’s base hit that scored Lee, who led off the eighth with a single and moved to second on a walk and scored on Jumbeck’s hit.
“Our concern offensively for us was that we left way too many runners on base and looked at too many called third strikes,” Anderson said. In the game the Lions struck out 11 times. Abbey Loken got the win, tossing a four hitter for the Hurricanes.
After hosting Southland Monday, the Lions will wrap up the regular season with home games Thursday against Dover-Eyota and Friday against Lewiston-Altura.
Saturday SG/C will play a double-header against Fillmore Central/Lanesboro at Preston at 9 a.m.