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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Warriors persevere for a 10-0 triumph

Nikki Anderson pitched Thursday during the Brainerd Warriors’ Central Lakes Conf1 / 2
Ashley Tibbetts drove in the final run to end Brainerd’s 10-0 victory over Willm2 / 2

You know expectations are elevated when Nikki Anderson slings a one-hit shutout and she doesn’t think she pitched well.

The Warriors’ left-hander hit three batters, two in the same inning, but struck out seven and issued no walks as Brainerd cruised to a 10-0 victory over the Willmar Cardinals on Tuesday at Adamson Field.

Anderson, who threw her sixth shutout of the season, was backed by 10 hits, four for extra bases, and by three-run and seven-run innings as unbeaten and 10th-ranked Brainerd lifted its record to 9-0.

In the second inning, she hit Willmar pitcher Heather Horning and designated hitter Alex Linbo, both in the forearm. The next inning, Horning was hit in the stomach.

“It was a little tougher today,” Anderson said, “but we have a lot going for us. I never meant to hit the pitcher. I feel very bad, it happens, but I just kept going because I know how important these wins are for my team. And, our team just came out hitting.”

Ashley Tibbetts, Jenni Smolke and Karlie Manton each had two hits for the Warriors.

Tibbetts doubled in the game’s final two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Smolke doubled to start the last-inning uprising. Manton cracked a two-run double in the first.

Also in the fifth, Ali Beadle delivered an RBI double past the outstretched glove of the left fielder, Alanna Hanson smoked a pinch-hit single, Hannah Kangas added a two-run single and Chelsie Manton an RBI single.

“Alanna had a big hit for us, which was really huge,” Warriors coach Mike Zauhar said, “but again I think we came out somewhat flat the first couple innings. But, to the team’s credit, they got through it.

“I do know this. Against good teams, which Bemidji will be (Friday), we can’t come out flat.”

The only hit Anderson allowed was debatable. With two out in the third, Sarah Roehl hit a ground ball toward second base. Tibbetts veered to her right and got her glove on the ball, but she had to backhand it and the ball glanced off her mitt.

“We had (three) runs, and we came back and got sevenmore in the bottom of the fifth,” Anderson said. “That shows the determination our team has.”

Willmar loaded the bases in the third, but Anderson retired the side on a fly ball to center.

“I threw a lot of outside fastballs and rise balls today because my curve wasn’t working too well,” she said. 

Willmar  000 00 —  0  1  1

Brainerd 300 07 — 10 10 1

5 innings

Willmar: Heather Horning and Addy Nelsen. 

Brainerd: Nikki Anderson and Carlie Sweet.

W: Anderson (9-0). L: Horning.

2B: Brd-Ashley Tibbetts, Jenni Smolke, Ali Beadle, Karlie Manton

SB: Brd-Bailey O’Hotto, Brittney Boeder

RBIs: Tibbetts 2, Ali Beadle, Karlie Manton 2, Hannah Kangas 2, Chelsie Manton

LOB: Will 5, Brd 5