North High bats remain ‘hot’ during cold weather

Polars power past Pioneers & Titans

The weather may have been unseasonably cold, but that certainly didn’t affect the North High softball bats, which were on fire last week.

While the fans in the stands were bundled in blankets to blunt the chilly, gusty winds, the Polars’ hot bats were knocking balls all around the parks during their two road games.

On Monday, April 20 against Tartan and Wednesday, April 22 against Hill-Murray, North banged out 27 total hits and won both shortened contests via the 10-run rule.

North 18 - Tartan 1

The Polars put up a relentless attack that culminated with a 10-run sixth inning in which they sent 13 batters to the box. North also stranded nine runners in the six-inning game.

Tartan coach Brian Larson lamented the loss and the absence of several veteran players. “We have some key players who couldn’t play today. Our shortstop, our catcher, our centerfielder and our back up centerfielder are all down. But we need [other] players to step up.”

He said, “It was cold outside. [North] came to play in the cold, and we didn’t. The bottom line is they were prepared to play. “We have to do better than what we did today.

“Good teams have to pick it up, and we didn’t do that. A lot of players let us down today.”  

From the North perspective, co-head coach Cliff Charpentier said, “It was fun. I feel bad for Tartan -- missing a few players. We also have some out with injuries, but we played well in the field.

Charpentier praised his defense, which did not commit any errors in the game. And then added, “Our pitcher [Megan Rubbelke] has been throwing awesome for us. She has done very well, and our team clicked behind her today. We’re having fun.”

The talented Rubbelke recorded four strikeouts and had no walks while allowing just four Tartan hits.

In gaining the 18 runs, the Polars had every batter reach base. In addition to their 15 hits, they also took advantage of eight Tartan errors and two hit batters.

Gaining hits, runs, and RBI for the Polars were:

• Rubbelke 3-for-5, 3 runs, 1 RBI;

• Madison DelCastillo 3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBI;

• Ryan Crotty 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBI;

• Sophie Cave 2-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI;

• Abby Arko 2-for-5; 3 runs, 1 RBI;

• Kayla Koemptgen 2-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI;

• Jordan Hofmeister 1-for-5, 1 run.

The lone Tartan run came in the last of the sixth when Krista Sandberg knocked a single to right. She moved to second on an infield ground out and came home on Allison Hazzard’s solid single to left.

North 11 - Hill-Murray 1

In the second day of temperatures hovering in the low 40s and the winds as unrelenting as earlier in the week, the North Polars traveled to Hill-Murray on April 22 and put the game away in the top of the third inning when they sent 10 batters to the box and scored five runs.

In their half of the fourth the Polars produced two more tallies that brought their total to 11.

“[North] hit the ball well today, despite the cold weather,” said Hill-Murray head coach Colleen Conway.

“We just have to start making the plays,” she conceded. But then she pointed out some positives about her team. “I thought our pitchers did a good job today. We have been working on our pitching. They [ninth-graders Holly Grengs and Jayna Witzany] got some action today. We have been working with our pitchers, and I saw some improvement in our pitching. They both got some action, so that’s nice.

“A lot of things we are doing in practice are transferring into the games. We just have to get some of those things going for us.”

North co-head coach Tom Nemo summed up the North effort when he said, “We hit the ball. The nice thing is, you don’t know what to expect against Hill-Murray. They are a very good team and are well coached, and we were able to get those runs.

“We have just been playing very well. The top of our order has been getting on base. Actually, the whole team has been producing. We have been playing good defense. We’ve been getting good pitching, and we’ve been getting some timely hitting.

“After we lost to Mahtomedi, we didn’t let up. But that goes to show you that any team can beat anyone else. Our pitcher ‘Rube’ [Megan Rubbelke] has been doing a nice job,” Nemo said.

“Even though we lost seven starters from last year, with our feeder system, we don’t rebuild; we reload.”

The Polars put a pair of runs on the board in the first inning, two more in the second, five in the third and finished their scoring with two runs in the fourth.

Gaining the hits and RBI that scored the runs were:

• Abby Glaus 2-for-3, 2 runs;  

• Kallie Stepaniak 2-for-3, 2 runs;

• Rubbelke 2-for-3, 1 run, 3 RBI;  

• Sophie Cave 2-for-3, 3 RBI;

• Madison DelCastillo 2-for-5, 2 runs;

• Lily Langevin 1-for 3, 3 runs;

• Kayla Koemptgen 1-for-4, 1 run;

• Ryan Crotty 1-for-4.

Hill-Murray scored its lone run in the last of the fourth when Jessie Bonfe and Sami Thompson walked. They moved to second and third on a wild pitch.

A slow roller to the right side off the bat of Sammie Rambo allowed Bonfe to race across the plate.

The win moved the Polars to a record of 7-1, and Hill-Murray dropped to 2-5.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7820.

 

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