Central softball splits opening games

Jayden Fritz hustles down to first after dropping down a bunt in Central’s 5-3 opening win over Sibley East last Thursday. (Adam Gruenewald/The Times)

By Adam Gruenewald
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Central softball started the season well, splitting a pair of home games.
The Raiders defeated Sibley East in the opener on Thursday, 6-3, before losing to Maple Lake on Friday, 9-2.
Central’s game against Litchfield on Monday was postponed.

Sibley East
Central started the season with a convincing win over Minnesota River Conference opponent Sibley East.
The Raiders fell behind 1-0 in the second inning, but responded with two in the bottom of the second as pitcher Auna Hallquist collected a RBI single and Jayden Fritz later executed executed a squeeze bunt to score courtesy runner Abbie Luskey, according to head coach Jon Lambrecht.
“I like to do that as early as possible to see if we can receive the sign and then execute the sign,” said Lambrecht. “That’s a big deal at the varsity level.”
Central then added a run in the third inning, before closing out a 6-3 victory, according to Lambrecht.
In addition to earning the win on the mound, pitcher Auna Hallquist went 3-for-3 with a double and a RBI, while Sadie Erickson went 3-for-4 and a RBI and Lily Schneider had a couple of runs and a hit.
“We are going to ease into the season it feels like,” said Lambrecht, adding that his team’s defense, expecially the combination of Erickson at second base and Leah Crown at first was solid.

Maple Lake
Section 5AA foe Maple Lake proved to be too much for Central in a 9-2 loss in NYA on Friday.
Boosted by a transfer pitcher, Lambrecht said Maple Lake should be one of the best teams in their half of the section.
“We got hit and we got hit hard,” he said. “Maple Lake is a very strong team.”
Maple Lake scored three runs in the first inning, but Central countered with their two runs in the second on a 2-run homerun over the right-center field fence by Bren Fox. The Irish then put the game away with one in the third, one in the fifth and three in the seventh.
Hallquist stayed perfect at the plate, while Sadie Erickson, Lily Schneider and Jayden Fritz all collected hits as well as Bren Fox’s homerun.

Next Up
The Raiders (1-1, 1-0) next have their first road test at Tri-City United on Tuesday, before hosting LeSueur-Henderson on Tuesday, April 18, traveling to Jordan on April 20 and a Zumbrota-Mazeppa Invite w/ Becker on April 22.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.