HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Anderson perfect, Warriors capture outright CLC title
Nikki Anderson added another significant achievement to an already accomplished resume.
The Brainerd Warriors’ senior lefthander fired the third perfect game of her career Monday in a 10-0, 6-inning Central Lakes Conference win Monday against the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm at Adamson Field.
Anderson’s pitching, backed by 11 hits, enabled Brainerd to capture its third straight undisputed CLC championship. It was Brainerd’s 29th straight CLC win.
“I’m very proud of the program, very proud of the coaches and the players that we’ve had here for the last three years,” Warriors coach Mike Zauhar said. “It is quite an accomplishment. Then, to go along with that, we’ve got some very good academic stuff.
“We’re gearing up now. We need to get (Tuesday’s) (home) game (against Fergus Falls). We’re certainly looking at the No. 1 seed (in Section 8-3A). If we win out I don’t think they can deny it to us.”
Entering Monday’s game Brainerd led the section with a Quality Results Formula rating of 101.8. Bemidji was next at 87.5.
“This is what we’ve worked so hard for,” Anderson said of the CLC title. “We’ve done that now, and now we’re going for the section championship.”
In Monday’s gem, Anderson struck out seven and didn’t go to any 3-ball counts. She had 2-ball counts on only four hitters. And the Warriors played staunch defense behind her.
“I knew in that last inning that I had one going,” said Anderson, who pitched perfect games as a sophomore and junior. “I just really wanted to keep it up.
“The team defense was amazing. They really keep me in the game. Hannah Kangas made some great plays. We were just in the game. We stayed focused. I really like that.”
The Warriors had to like the pop they received from the No. 6 through No. 8 spots in their order. First baseman Sarah Wennerstrand, shortstop Maria West and outfielder Mikaela Chandler went a combined 6 for 11.
“This year the whole lineup is full of power,” Chandler said, “and no matter what order we have our batting lineup it will be good.”
Chandler, a junior, was 3 for 4 with two doubles and five RBIs. She roped a 3-run double to left in the first, an RBI single in the fourth and ended the game via the 10-run rule with an RBI double to left-center in the sixth.
“We’ve been working hard in practice and (assistant) coach (Dan) Bzdok has been helping us a lot with our hitting,” Chandler said. “I think that it’s coming together now and it’s fun.”
West was 2 for 3 with doubles in the third and sixth and scored two runs. Wennerstrand was 1 for 4 with a run.
Catcher Nikki DeChaine contributed a 2-run single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the fifth for Brainerd, which is ranked eighth in Class 3A. Second baseman Chelsie Manton was 2 for 4 with a run and two stolen bases.
“We came ready to play for a Monday,” Zauhar said. “We have to be ready to come ready to play (Tuesday) as well and hopefully we will.”
• Manton (4.2 GPA) and Anderson (3.71) were named to the academic all-state team.
Sauk Rapids 000 00 — 0 0 3
Brainerd 501 211 — 10 11 0
Sauk Rapids: Bailey Weirens, Kendra Christiansen (5) and Tara Haakonson.
Brainerd: Nikki Anderson and Nikki DeChaine.
WP: Anderson (16-1). LP: Weirens.
2B: Brd-Mikaela Chandler 2, Maria West 2, Anderson
SB: Brd-Chelsie Manton 2, Courtney O’Hotto
RBIs: Brd-DeChaine 3, Chandler 5
LOB: Brd 9, SRR 0
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.