By Adam Gruenewald
With the Minnesota River Conference title in their sights, the Central softball team went 1-2 this past week including a two conference losses.
With the losses, Central is at 7-3 in the MRC as of Monday’s games, in a group with Mayer Lutheran at 7-3, Belle Plaine at 7-2 and Jordan at 5-4.
Despite the rough week, Central earned the top seed in the east subsection of the section 5AA tournament and will host Breck at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19.
Central opened the week with a 4-2 loss on the road to LeSueur-Henderson last Tuesday.
The Raiders scored their two runs in the third inning as Lily Schneider went 1-for-2 with two RBIs with Madi Johnson, Sadie Erickson, Leah Crown and Abby Mackenthun all collecting hits, according to head coach Jon Lambrecht.
“A lot of little things didn’t go our way that game and it goes to show you anything can happen,” said Lambrecht. “I believe LeSueur played better and we played down to our competition a little bit.”
LSH though scored a run in both the first and fourth innings and two in the fifth frame, despite only recording four hits off of Sadie Erickson with several Raiders errors. Erickson gave up two walks and struck out four in six innings.
“The way they got their runs were errors,” said Lambrecht.
Central then lost to Tri-City United at home on Thursday, 4-3.
Despite TCU scoring a run in the first inning on a double by Elly Novak and a single by Kaitlyn Buss, the Raiders did take a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning after plating runs in the first, third and fourth innings.
It all came apart in the seventh though as Auna Hallquist retired the first hitter on an infield popout and then struck out Novak, but TCU got three straight singles and Lauren Miller came through with the bases-clearing triple for the lead.
“What happened at the end there is something I have not seen in a long time,” said Lambrecht.
Lambrecht credited Novak for limiting the Raiders offensively as she struck out eight, but the Raiders left six in scoring position.
“Elly Novak is a good pitcher,” he said. “You have to give credit to her as she kept us off balance.”
The Raiders concluded the week with a 21-1 five-inning victory at Glencoe-Silver Lake on Friday.
Central scored early and often against the Panthers, putting the game away early, according to Lambrecht.
“Their program is a little bit down right now,” said Lambrecht. “In the time I’ve been coaching I haven’t seen in like that.”
Sadie Erickson pitched the complete game, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out one.
Offensively, Madi Johnson went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases, Sadie Erickson went 3-for-4 with five runs scored and a RBI, Lily Schneider went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, Leah Crown went 2-for-5 with three runs scored, Auna Hallquist went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, Marlie Franck got a RBI single and Sam Miller added a single.
The Raiders (14-4, 7-3) next traveled to rival Mayer Lutheran for a key doubleheader on Tuesday to round out the regular season.
“I’d like to think we have a good shot at winning two,” said Lambrecht.
Should the Raiders advance past Breck on Friday, they would travel to Rockford for a 5AA game at 4 p.m. on May 23.
Visit http://www.mshsl.org or follow @adamgruenewald for schedule updates.
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