The Central softball team had a busy week with a lot of conference games in a short time span with doubleheaders on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The Raiders swept the both two doubleheaders by defeating Lester Prairie 11-1 and 6-2, then besting Sibley East 10-0 and 4-2 before losing to Belle Plaine 6-1 and 10-1.

Central had a good start to the week with Lester Prairie on Monday as the Raider bats had 14 hits in a 12-1 game one win over the Bulldogs. Emma Conser, Kalli Wischnack and Kelsey Harms continued their great hitting in conference play collecting multiple hit games and Addie Willems limited Lester Prairie to one run on two hits in five innings.

In game two, McKenzie Conlin limited Lester Prairie to two runs in seven innings and Taylor Parpart and Morgan Johnson combined for five runs in the 6-2 win. Five Raiders collected multiple hits in the game.

“The girls did a nice job of stepping into some different roles on defense and were able to make some good defensive plays while limiting base runners with some nice plays to get lead runners in this game,” said coach Darrin Fox.

Against Sibley East in game one, Willems again was stellar, limiting the Wolverines to just three hits in six innings with nine strikeouts in the 10-0 victory. Conser hit two home runs in the game over the left field fence and collected seven RBIs in the game. The Raiders top five hitters had 10 hits in the game.

“That is great production from the top of the lineup and there were a few other swings and contacts on balls that were very sharp,” said Fox. “Defensively, the oufield of Paige Lueck, Kalli Wischnack and Sammy Krohn did a great job of getting a number of fly ball outs and keeping a couple of well hit balls to only singles.”

The Raiders faced some adversity in game two as they fell behind 1-0 in the second inning and had a couple of opportunities early in the game to get runners in but did not pick up some timely hits with two outs and hit a number of balls right at defenders.

“That does happen in the game of softball and the girls needed to keep focus on playing defense which they did in limiting only one other run to the Wolverines,” said Fox.

Conlin pitched three innings, allowing one run and Krohn came in for the final four innings giving up one run and getting the win on a Raider rally in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Kelsey Harms managed to start a oen out rally for the Raiders getting on base on an error and got to second on the same play. Anna Meeker hit a line drive to right field to score Britney Smith subbing for Harms and the Raiders had cut the lead in half. In the sixth, a nice rally was started by Josie Beneke drawing a walk and advanced all the way to third on a great bunt by Wischnack. Conser doubled to left and the game was tied up. Conser then scored the game winning run on a passed ball and a interesting bounce that left home plate uncovered which was a very aggressive base running move.

“Even though the offense sputtered in this game it was a great rally by the Raiders and something they could feel good about winning a close game with good fundamental execution,” said Fox. “However, the limited offense was a sign of things to come with Belle Plaine on Thursday.”

In another doubleheader matchup on Thursday, Belle Plaine rode the arm of a great pitcher in Sienna Bemmels to limit the Raiders to one run on a couple of hits by Conser, Harms and Meeker with Beneke getting the run scored for the Raiders. Willems threw a complete game in the 6-1 loss and got six strikeouts. With a couple of timely hits and a home run the Tigers got a three spot in the third and extended the lead with a couple seventh inning runs to finish the scoring.

“Bemmels is a very good pitcher and we didn’t have enough offense to string things together,” said Fox.

The story remained the same for the Raiders in game two with a couple of great scoring opportunities in the first couple innings against the Tigers but the two out hits never surfaced and the Raiders found themselves on the wrong end of a 10-1 loss. Sammy Krohn gave up four runs in the second but threw a complete game and limited Belle Plaine in the other innings until the bottom of the sixth when a number of runs scored on an error and a couple of big gap hits by the Tigers. Laya Hallquist made a return to the lineup for the Raiders and collected a couple of hits and Paige Lueck continued her solid week with a gap double that scored Britney Smith for the Raiders run in the sixth.

“We needed to break through in the first couple innings to get a run or two across to regain some confidence at the player from the first game and those runs would have helped get us off to a better start,” said Fox. “However our need to face good teams and pitchers is a must as we are getting closer to section tournament play and seeing a good team and good pitching staff will be beneficial for us in the long run and credit to Belle Plaine for playing some good softball on the day. Overall, to go 4-2 on the week was successful and we need to continue to work on our execution on the defensive side of things and continue to gain confidence at the plate and using the field as much as possible.”

For the last full week of the regular season this week the Raiders will honor their seniors at home against Mayer Lutheran and have a big game against rival G-SL to end the week as well in a section tuneup game.

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