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Softball: Warriors rally to knock off Sabres

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Brainerd Warrior shortstop Lexi Roby fields a ground ball against the Sartell Sabres Tuesday at Don Adamson Field. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch Video2 / 2

Kylie Lange believes it's all about momentum.

She might be right.

For the first two innings of Tuesday's Central Lakes Conference matchup, the momentum belonged to the Sartell Sabres, but that switched in the third inning and the Brainerd Warriors put the nail in the coffin with a six-run fifth for an 11-5 victory at Adamson Field.

"We made some errors early in the game, but then we kind of regrouped," said Lange. "We got some hitting and then we slowly rebuilt our confidence and then we went out there and made some good plays. We hit the ball pretty well."

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Brainerd 11, Sartell 5

  • Key: Brainerd used a 6-run fifth inning to pull away from Sabres
  • Conf: Brd 2-0, Sar 1-1
  • Overall: Brd 5-0, Sar 2-2
  • Next: Brainerd at Moorhead 4 p.m. Thursday (2)

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Brainerd collected 10 hits, including three doubles.

Sadie Jordan led off the third inning with a slap single and moved to second on a throwing error. Elaina Christianson, Hanna Degen and Lexi Roby all walked to score Jordan and then Lange laced a double for two more runs. Lange then scored on Clare Ceynowa's sacrifice fly to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead.

"I felt pretty good," said Lange. "The key is to go into the batter's box with confidence, otherwise if you go in scared of the ball you're never going to get on."

During Brainerd's weekend tournament, Lange finished 5-of-10 with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and five runs scored. Tuesday, she was 2-4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs.

Christianson was 2-2 with three runs, two stolen bases, two walks and an RBI. The RBI came during Brainerd's fifth. Lange and Ceynowa opened with back-to-back doubles. An error on Richelle Bjork's deep shot to center field scored both. Bjork scored on Cassidy Zontelli's single and she scored on Christianson's single. Vanessa Britton, who singled, scored on a fielder's choice.

"I think that the most important thing is momentum," Lange said. "When you get people going, it just keeps flowing and you keep getting hits. That's when you get all of your runs."

Lexi Roby finished with two RBIs despite not getting a hit. Her first RBI scored Christianson on a sacrifice fly for Brainerd's first run in the first. That cut into Sartell's early lead.

"My coaching staff is tremendous and they work with these kids every day, whether it's in the batting cage or base running," said Warriors head coach Shane Jordan. "We talk about those little things like running the bases. That's crucial. If we can take an extra base, we want to do that. We do a really good job of that, but we have good kids and great athletes and that always helps."

The Sabres opened with two runs in the first. Courtney Deters and Cami Doman hit consecutive singles and scored on an error and a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead. After the Warriors cut it to 2-1, Kayla Nelson opened the second with a single and scored on Doman's single.

A Julianna Tavale solo homer in the fifth and a late seventh-inning run accounted for Sartell's five runs.

After a rocky start, Brainerd's Jillian Ewald settled in. She allowed 11 hits, but walked just one. She struck out one and allowed four earned runs on 82 pitches for her third win of the season.

"We played great defense last weekend, maybe some of the best defense I've seen since I started coaching," said Jordan. "We had a little adversity early and that's OK. I didn't mind that because I wanted to see how we would respond and I thought we responded really well."

Sartell 5 11 4

Brainerd 11 10 3

WP: Jillian Ewald. LP: Tonya Paul. 2B: Brd-Hanna Degen, Kylie Lange 2; Sar-Addy DeMaine. HR: Sar-Julianna Tavale.

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
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