May 6, 2013
A very abbreviated Lady Spartan softball season came to an end this weekend at the Southern Division tournament in in Waite Park. The tournament was a result of the teams not being able to play a complete regular season schedule that normally determines the division champion and the teams that advance to regions. The Lady Spartans played their best softball defensively of the season, but failed to score in two of the three games to end their season.
"All I asked the players to do was to come down and compete like champions, and they did. We knew we were at a disadvantage by having only one outdoor practice, but it has been a tough spring on everyone," said Steve King, head coach of the Lady Spartans. "Unfortunately, we played the three teams that advanced to regions, and they are just better than us, which made for a quick exit. I certainly appreciated the attitude and the effort the players put forth in less than ideal weather conditions. We had a short year, but it was an enjoyable year."
Game One - Ridgewater 2 - Lady Spartans 0
Game one was a matchup of the Spartans playing the Ridgewater Warriors from Willmar. Both teams received excellent pitching and defense. Christine Moenkedick limited the Warriors to just three hits and two runs. She received a great effort defensively behind her as the Lady Spartans did not commit an error. Unfortunately, the Lady Spartans did not give her any offensive support, managing just a single by Tanis Lura and a walk to Moenkedick. Ridgewater scored single runs in the second and fifth innings to win the game 2-0.
Game Two - St. Cloud 8 - Lady Spartans 0
In game two, the Lady Spartans matched up against the team that would prove to be the best in the south in St. Cloud Community and Technical College. The Lady Spartans generated more offense in this game, but were unable to push any runs across.
Moenkedick pitched a good game, but St. Cloud is known for their bats, and they put one big inning on the board with five in the fourth. That would prove to be too much for Lady Spartan,s and they fell by a score of 8-0.
Game Three - Minnesota West 5 - Lady Spartans 3
The Lady Spartans' bats came to life early in this game, but they were unable to hold off the Blue Jays from MinnesotaWest out of Worthington. The Lady Spartans jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Morgan Kapphahn singled to open the game and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Harly Alby. Kapphahn then scored on an RBI single by Megan Cole for the early 1-0 lead.
The Lady Spartans would add two more runs in the top of the third. Moenkedick led off with a single, and Kapphahn executed the sacrifice bunt to perfection, moving Moenkedick to second. She would move to third on the Alby single and score on an error to make the game 2-0. Alby scored when Maria Johnson hit a shot to right field that the right fielder failed to catch to make the score 3-0.
Minnesota West answered with two in the bottom of the third and one in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3. In the top of the fifth, the Lady Spartans had another chance to score and take the lead, putting Moenkedick on third and Kapphahn on second with nobody out. The Lady Spartans were unable to get the ball out of the infield, and both runners were stranded.
Minnesota West added 2 runs in the bottom of fifth as they put runners on second and third with no outs. Moenkedick came very close to working out of the jam and keeping the score tied. She struck out the next two batters, but Minnesota West got the clutch single up the middle to plate the two runners and make the score 5-3, and that would be the final.
The M State Lady Spartan team completed their long five day, five city road trip in St. Cloud on Sunday, playing better but dropping a pair of games to a very good St. Cloud Technical and Community College team. On Saturday, the Lady Spartans lost two games to Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington. The losses dropped their record on the trip to 1-9, but head coach Steve King was impressed by what he saw on the trip.
"This was a difficult trip physically, but probably more demanding mentally. 10 games in five days is demanding. We really hit a wall on Saturday in Worthington, but rebounded to play our best ball of the season today. That is a tremendous credit to the young ladies, to face adversity and keep battling and get better. This trip was like a spring trip in that the games didn't really mean much as we are playing in a tournament to determine the southern division champion and which teams advance to regions next weekend anyway, so we just focused on improvement and having fun."
Saturday, April 27 in Worthington
MN West 7 - M State 4
The Lady Spartans started fast in game one scoring in the top of the first as Maria Johnson tripled to score Megan Cole for a 1-0 lead. MN West would not wait long as they scored on the bottom of the first, added two in the third and one more in the fourth for a 4-1 lead. The Lady Spartans were able to score one in the top of the fifth as Aria Walstad drove a sharp ground ball through the left side to score Tanis Lura and cut the lead to 4-2. The Lady Spartans would also score a single run in the top of the sixth when Johnson reached on an error and advanced to second. She scored on a single by Aann Bjorklund to cut the lead 4-3. MN West would add three runs in the bottom of the sixth for the 7-3 lead. The Lady Spartans were able to rally with one in the top of the seventh as Christine Moenkedick singled and moved to second on a groundout. She scored on a single by Morgan Kapphahn to make it a 7-4 ballgame, but the Lady Spartans could not push another run across and lost the game.
Moenkedick pitched a complete game for the Spartans and took the loss.
MN West 14 - M State 2
Game two really found the Lady Spartans struggling in all aspect of the game. Mn west used the bunt and some well place slaps to really put the pressure on the Spartans defensively. The Lady Spartans only runs came in a two run fourth, Moenkedick tripled to right field and scored on a single by Hannah Sayles. Sayles advanced on an error and scored on a single by Kapphahn. That cut the Mn West lead to 8-2 and Mn West would pile on six more in the fifth to make it 14-2 in a shortened game due to the eight run rule.
"MN West did some things to us with bunts and slap hitting that we were not prepared for" said King. "There are some things that are difficult to practice in the gym, and that is one of them. I really can't blame the players, because I just didn't have them prepared enough for that style of play."
Sunday, April 28th in St. Cloud
St. Cloud Technical and Community College 9 - M State 1
The score may not indicate it, but the Lady Spartans began to show some life in game one against the top ranked team in the state. Moenkedick pitched a strong game and was hurt by some timely hits for the Cyclones that followed some Lady Spartan fielding mistakes. The at bats were much improved as was the overall attitude in the dugout.
The Lady Spartans scored their single run in the second. With the Cyclones scoring three runs in the first and leading 3-0, Tanis Lura tripled to left center with one out in the second and scored on a single by Bjorklund. The Lady Spartans would continue to threaten to score, but lacked the big hit. The Cyclones were able to add three in the third and three more in the fourth for the final 9-1 score.
St. Cloud 12 M State 7
Game two of the Sunday doubleheader and the 10th game in five days proved to be an exciting game with the Lady Spartans beginning to show the improvement offensively and defensively that they have been looking for.
Aann Bjorklund took the ball and held the Cyclones scoreless for the first three innings allowing the Lady Spartans to get an early lead. In the bottom of the third, Hannah Sayles opened the inning with a single and advanced to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Walstad. Sayles would score on a single by Harley Alby. Megan Cole promptly hit an absolute no doubter to left field for a two run homerun and the Spartans had a 3-0 lead.
As has been the case in many of the Lady Spartan games this year, one big inning hurt them again as the Cyclones dropped a six run top of the fourth on the Lady Spartans to take a 6-3 lead. The Lady Spartans stayed after it and scored three in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Bjorklund reached on a fielders' choice and advanced to third on a double by Moenkedick. Both runners scored as Walstad drilled a single to left. Walstad would advance to second on a wild pitch and score on a double by Kapphahn to tie the score at 6-6.
The Cyclones would add two in the top of the fifth for and 8-6 lead. The Lady Spartans answered with one of their own when Lura singled and scored on a single by Moenkedick to make the score 8-7. That would be as close as the Lady Spartans would get as Bjorklund battled but tired and the Cyclones added 4 in the top of the sixth to take a 12-7 lead and come away with the win.
"We played with much more enrgy and hustle today" said King. "Up and down the lineup the at bats were better and everyone was into the game. Both games got away from us a little at the end, but it is satisfying to know we have a group of players that won't quit."
The M State Lady Spartan softball team traveled to Cambridge on Friday to take on the Anoka Ramsey Golden Rams. The Lady Spartans struggled offensively and dropped both ends of the doubleheader, losing game one 9-0 and game two 4-2.
"We are really fighting the at bats right now" said Steve King, head coach of the Lady Spartans. "The approach to having good at bats is such a confidence issue, and we have a few players that are not real confident at the plate right now. Hopefully as we see more live pitching, we can battle through it and start to get a clutch hit and score some runs."
In game one, the Lady Spartans were limited to just one hit, a first inning double by red hot Megan Cole. Cole has been so hot she was intentionally walked with runners in scoring position in the third inning. The offensive opportunities were very limited for the Lady Spartans as they could only generate the one hit and four walks against the Rams. Christine Moenkedick pitched the first game and took the 9-0 loss.
In game two, the Lady Spartans came out with more energy and played a very good game but lost 4-2. Aann Bjorklund started for the first time this year and pitched a complete game. Offense again proved hard to come by for the Lady Spartans as they had runners on all game long, but could not deliver in the clutch.
The Lady Spartans scored both their runs in the fourth inning. Trailing 3-0, Megan Cole led off the fourth inning with a double. Maria Johnson delivered a run scoring single. Johnson then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. She scored on a groundout by Aann Bjorklund to make the score 3-2. The Lady Spartans were able to get runners on base, but unable to get the hits needed to cut into the Ram's lead. Bjorklund pitched a very good game and had control of her pitches. The Spartan defense played a solid game behind her.
"We played much better in game two" said King. "We had more energy and Aann did a great job. We played some people in different positions and they responded well. We just need to keep battling and improve our at bats and we will be OK."
The Lady Spartans drop to 1-5 in the Southern Division and 2-8 overall. They will play Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington on Saturday and St. Cloud Technical and Community College in St. Cloud on Sunday to complete their five day road trip.
The M State Lady Spartan softball team traveled to Austin to open Southern Division play and came away with a split of the doubleheader. Game one went to the Riverland by a score of 14-8. The Lady Spartans won game two 9-5.
In game one the Lady Spartans play showed the effects of not having an outdoor practice yet this season and committed four errors in the first two innings and fell behind 5-0 after the two. They came to life in the third, taking advantage of some Riverland mistakes and scored 6 runs. Aann Bjorklund delivered the big hit with a bases loaded double that cleared the bases. The Lady Spartans took the lead 6-5 after three inning.
The Lady Spartans held the lead until the fourth when errors again led to runs for Riverland. Riverland scored two runs in the fourth to take a 7-6 lead they would not give up. They added six more runs in the fifth inning to take a 13-6 lead. Lady Spartan starting pitcher Christine Moenkedick was able to hold Riverland at that score and get the Lady Spartans back in the dugout. The Lady Spartans were able to avoid losing on the 8-run rule after five innings and get some much needed at bats against live pitching.
Megan Cole took advantage of her at bat, belting a rocket over the center field fence for a two run homerun, her second of the season. That was all the offense the Lady Spartans could generate and the final score ended 14-8.
In game two, the Lady Spartans settled down in the field and scored some early runs for a 9-5 victory. Moenkedick started and finished the game for the complete game win.
Cole started the scoring for the Lady Spartans in the first with her second two run homerun of the day scoring Harley Alby who had singled in front of her. Maria Johnson followed that with a triple. Maria scored on a single by Tanis Lura to give the Lady Spartans a 3-0 first inning lead. The Lady Spartans would lead the entire game as Moenkedick turned in a strong pitching performance and the defense backed her with some very nice defensive plays.
Offensively, the Lady Spartans took full advantage of the walks they received and the mistakes in the field by Riverland. They added one run in the second, two in the fourth, and one more in the fifth for a 7-3 lead. Riverland battled back and scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 7-5. In the top of the seventh, the Lady Spartans answered with two very big runs to seal the victory.
Hannah Sayles had a great at bat to draw a leadoff walk. Moenkedick reached on an error and both runners moved up a base to put runners on second and third. Morgan Kapphahn stepped to the plate and delivered a clutch single to score both runners for a 9-5 Lady Spartan lead.
In the seventh, the Lady Spartans made the plays they were supposed to make as Harley Alby scooped up two tough ground balls to get outs and Moenkedick got the final hitter to pop out to Tanis Lura at second for the final out and the 9-5 Lady Spartan victory.
"I am very happy with our attitude and play today" said Steve King, head coach of the Lady Spartans. "After such a long time in the gym, we knew we were not going to be perfect and that it is going to be a process to get to the top of our game. The improvement from game one to game two was impressive and shows the type of student athletes we have. Our goal is to keep improving and be ready for the tournament that begins May 3rd."
The Lady Spartans will play a compact schedule with road games in Willmar on Thursday, Cambridge on Friday, Worthington on Saturday, and St. Cloud on Sunday. The Southern Division tournament will be held in St. Cloud on May 3rd and 4th. This tournament will determine the Southern Division champion and also which three teams will advance to the regional tournament.
April 4, 2013
The M State Lady Spartan softball team traveled Tuesday to St. Cloud and played two games in the Husky Dome on the campus of SCSU against conference powerhouse Itasca Community College. The Lady Spartans dropped the first game by a score of 7-5 and the second by a score of 10-2.
The Lady Spartans opened the season with a one-day tournament in Rochester on March 12. They had not been able to play since that time, and the effects of the extended layoff were evident in game one. Christine Moenkedick started and finished the game but did not have her usual command of her pitches. The Lady Spartans made some nice plays in the field but also missed some easy plays that needed to be made. They were held without a hit for the first four innings but put together a nice rally to end the game.
Itasca held a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. The Lady Spartans had been overmatched at the plate to this point, but the third time through the lineup proved to be the charm. The at-bats were getting better, and the Lady Spartans were making hard contact, forcing two Itasca errors to put runners on first and second with one out. Freshman Tanis Lura from Hawley delivered the first hit of the day, an RBI single up the middle to score Morgan Kapphahn from second to make the score 7-1.
Moenkedick settled down and pitched well the final two innings, holding the score at 7-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. Ashley Silbernagel reached on an error and moved to third base on a double by Kapphahn. After a strikeout, Lura walked to load the bases. Megan Cole then hit a booming triple to right center that cleared the loaded bases to make the score 7-4 with one out and Cole on third. Courtney Hinzmann, a freshman from Eagle Valley High School, picked up an RBI with a sharp ground out to the shortstop to score Cole and make the score 7-5. That was all the Lady Spartan offense could generate, and the game ended 7-5.
In game two, the Lady Spartans lost 10-2. Ashley Silbernagel from Perham pitched the complete game and was the victim of some errors by the Spartans and some missed offensive opportunities. After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Lady Spartans scored a pair in the top half of the second. Hinzmann led off with a single, and that was followed by one of the hardest hit balls of the day, a double by Maria Johnson, a freshman from Pelican Rapids. They scored on a two-out single by Kapphahn. Moenkedick was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs, but the Lady Spartans could not deliver another hit to bring them home.
Itasca added three in the bottom of the second and kept adding on, and the Lady Spartan bats fell silent as Itasca cruised to a 10-2 victory.
"The main objective for today was to finally play and compete and hopefully improve as a team, which I think we did" said Steve King, head coach of the Lady Spartans. "Itasca is a very talented and well-coached team, and they were more prepared than us today. We were hoping to win a game, but there were many positive things that happened today that will make us better. Like everyone else, we are just waiting for spring and an opportunity to show what we have."
The Lady Spartans now have a record of 1 win and 3 losses. The schedule for the Lady Spartans is still in the works, but hopefully they will be able to play divisional games next weekend in St. Cloud, Austin and Cambridge.
Last modified: May 6th, 2013 at 01:19pm