SOFTBALL: Warriors sweep CLC
Give Carlie Sweet partial credit for Nikki Anderson’s latest no-hit gem.
The senior catcher was given the nod to call the pitches for Thursday’s Central Lakes Conference contest with the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles.
The result was a nine strikeout, one walk, no-hit 1-0 victory for Anderson and the Warriors, who finished the conference season 14-0.
“Me and Nikki just kind of got into a rhythm and we just kind of took it from there,” said Sweet. “At first I was a little nervous, but then I just went with it and me and Nikki and fun.
“We kind of had a game plan in the beginning to throw some balls inside and keep it low so if they did hit it the ball would stay in play for our defense.”
Anderson dispatched the first 10 batters she faced, five by strikeouts. Apollo managed just two base runners — one by walk and another by a passed ball on a third strike. No Eagles runner got past second base.
“Offense is not the only part of the game, we have to play defense, too,” said Warrior head coach Mike Zauhar. “We played pretty good defense today. Of course, Nikki Anderson throws a no-hitter. Any time you do that you have a good chance to win.”
Anderson’s counterpart was equally as effective. Apollo’s Julia Stiegel struck out four, walked two and allowed just two hits.
Brainerd’s Chelsey Hanson led off the sixth with a single. Megan Tschida pinch ran for Hanson and the move paid off in the next at bat.
Ashley Tibbetts smashed a ball to the Apollo shortstop, who threw the ball into right field. An alert Tschida raced to third to set up Jenni Smolke for a chance to be the hero on senior night.
Smolke came through as she hit another hard bouncer to the shortstop, who again fumbled the ball, allowing Tschida to score the game-winning run.
“We weren’t going to steal Megan right away because we had some really good sticks coming up,” said Zauhar. “We wanted to allow Tibbetts to have an at bat and she hit it hard anyway and forced them to make a play. Then we were in a really good situation and Tschida read the play well and got to third. It was good baserunning.”
Brainerd’s Alanna Hanson had the game’s only other hit. Ali Beadle was 0-1 with a walk and a sacrifice.
“To win a game like this just shows us that we still have defense,” said Sweet. “When we get into tough games coming in sections where we’re not going to hit well, or the pitchers are going to be harder so we don’t hit, we still have the defense to pull off a win.”
The combination of Anderson and Sweet sat down Apollo in the top of the seventh on just five pitches to end the game.
“This team is flirting with softball history,” said Zauhar. “We’re 15-0 and we’ve started 15-0 before, but we’ve never gone undefeated so that’s definitely a goal. We need to get ready for section play and now with Moorhead we’ll continue on that road (Friday).”
Apollo 000 000 0 — 0 0 0
Brainerd 000 001 x — 1 2 0
Apollo: Julia Stiegel and Jaimee Thielen
Brainerd: Nikki Anderson and Carlie Sweet
WP: Anderson. LP: Stiegel.
SB: Brd-Alanna Hanson
S: SCA-Stiegel, Melissa Gebhardt; Brd-Ali Beadle
RBIs: Brd-Jenni Smolke
LOB: SCA 2, Brd 4
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.