SOFTBALL: Warriors, Tibbetts outhit Tech in sweep
Ashley Tibbetts can sleep soundly now — her dream came true Tuesday.
For the first time in her successful Brainerd Warriors career, Tibbetts launched a ball over the fence at Adamson Field.
The senior second baseman liked the feeling so much she did it twice. Tibbetts’ power and overall hitting helped the Warriors to a 4-1, 7-0 sweep of the St. Cloud Tech Tigers to improve to 11-0 in the Central Lakes Conference, 12-0 overall.
“She might have been just my speed, I’m not sure, but hitting one over this fence has been a dream since my sophomore year so I’m pretty pumped about that,” said Tibbetts. “That was awesome.”
Tibbetts finished 3-4 with the two home runs and three RBIs in Game One. In Game Two, she was 3-3 with a run. Her hitting so befuddled the Tigers that they walked her in her final two at bats.
Her six hits were twice as many as the entire Tech team.
“(Assistant coach Dan) Bzdok and I have been working on changing a few things with my swing,” said Tibbetts. “I think they are starting to help a lot.”
Nikki Anderson shut down the Tech offense, facing one batter over the minimum. Of the 22 batters she faced, she struck out 10 to complete the 4-1 no-hitter.
The only Tigers’ batter to reach base came on a one-out error in the fifth inning. She later scored on another throwing error for the only blemish in an almost perfect game.
Tibbetts opened the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff home run. Ali Beadle followed with a single and scored on Karlie Manton’s single for a 2-0 edge.
In the sixth, Alyssa Thoennes reached on a fielder’s choice and Tibbetts’ second home run brought her home for the final score.
“I thought we were somewhat flat again, but not every game is going to be perfect,” said Warriors head coach Mike Zauhar. “And we have to find a way to get through games and I think that first game we gutted it out.
“The second game we were a little more focused. We got some key hits and some key defensive plays. The second game was a little bit smoother. Thank God for Tibbetts and thank God for Nikki Anderson in that first game.”
Chelsie Manton led off the third inning with a bunt single that opened the flood gates for Brainerd. Tibbetts followed with a single and both scored on Beadle’s double. Beadle later scored to make it 3-0.
That was all the runs Anderson needed. She went four innings, allowing one hit and striking out five. Karlie Manton relieved for the final three innings. She struck out four and allowed two hits and one unearned run.
Carlie Sweet was 3-3 with a run. That run came during a three-run fifth that she led off. Alanna Hanson, who was 2-4, drove her home and later scored on Trisha Kramer’s single. Karlie Manton, who reached on an error also scored for a 6-0 lead.
Hannah Kangas opened the seventh with a single and scored on an error for the final score.
The victories avenged Brainerd’s 2-0 loss to Tech last year. It was one of just two regular-season losses for Brainerd.
“Our team is that much better from last year and there is so much more confidence,” Tibbetts said. “Everyone just comes ready to play and we’re trying really hard to do well this season.
“A goal for us is to go undefeated, so we’re going to try really, really hard for that.”
St. Cloud Tech 000 010 0 — 1 0 0
Brainerd 200 002 x — 4 11 2
Tech: Becca Sytsma and Abigail Sytsma
Brainerd: Nikki Anderson and Carlie Sweet
WP: Anderson. LP: B. Sytsma.
HR: Brd-Ashley Tibbetts 2
RBIs: Brd-Tibbetts 3, Karlie Manton
LOB: Brd 7, Tech 0
St. Cloud Tech 000 000 1 — 1 3 4
Brainerd 003 030 1 — 7 16 1
Tech: Sarah Forsythe and Kenna Hanisch
Brainerd: Anderson, Karlie Manton (5) and Sweet and Tibbetts (6)
WP: Anderson. LP: Forsythe. Sv: Manton.
2B: Brd-Tibbetts, Tech-Alison Host
3B: Brd-K. Manton
RBIs: Brd-Ali Beadle 2, Alanna Hanson, Trisha Kramer, Tech-Becca Sytsma
DP: Tech 1
LOB: Brd 13, Tech 4
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.